SC frames legal questions on issues relating to freebies, refers case to 3-judge bench

New Delhi: Highlighting the complexity involved in the issue, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered that the plea against freebies promised by the political parties during polls to induce voters, needs to be heard by a three-judge bench.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana said the following issues raised by various parties may require consideration by the court: what is the scope of judicial intervention? What should be the composition of the expert panel to examine the issue? Can court pass any enforceable order? Whether Subramaniam Balaji vs. Govt of Tamil Nadu judgment needs reconsideration?

The top court said the issues raised by parties require extensive hearing and looking at the complexity of issues and the prayer to overrule Subramaniam Balaji, “we refer the matters to a three-judge bench”.

On August 24, the Supreme Court queried the Central government, why it can’t form a committee to examine the impact of freebies promised by political parties to induce voters, and also the government can call for an all-party meeting to examine the issue.

The top court order came on a PIL by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking directions to the Centre and the Election Commission of India to take steps to regulate poll manifestos of political parties and also opposed the practice of political parties giving or promising freebies to induce voters during polls.


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