Apex court asks Election Commission to frame guidelines for manifestos

PTI | | Updated on: Mar 12, 2018

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Says freebies vitiate poll process

Freebies promised by political parties in their election manifestos shake the roots of free and fair polls, the Supreme Court today said and directed the Election Commission to frame guidelines for regulating contents of manifestos.

A Bench of Justices, P. Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi, said though the election manifesto is published before the code of conduct comes into force, the Commission can make an exception by bringing it within code of conduct.

The judgment can have wide ramifications and can put a curb on political parties promising different types of freebies like laptops, TVs, grinders and mixers, electric fans, four gram gold thali and free foodgrains if voted to power.

“There is no guideline for regulating the contents of election manifesto. We direct the Election Commission to frame guidelines on it,” the bench said.

“We direct election commission to take up the task (of framing guidelines) immediately,” it said.

The apex court also said that separate legislation should be made on this issue.

It said freebies promised by political parties disturb the level playing field among players contesting the polls and vitiates the election process.

Promises do not amount to corrupt practices

The Bench, however, dismissed the plea challenging J. Jayalalithaa government’s decision to implement AIADMK’s poll promise of free household items to voters, saying that under the present law, promises of freebies made in the manifesto do not amount to corrupt practices.

Published on July 05, 2013
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