‘Have hidden agenda’, SC on plea seeking FIRs against Cong, SP on poll freebies

The Supreme Court on Thursday slammed a petitioner who sought registration of FIRs and also a direction to disqualify candidates fielded by the Congress and Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and candidates representing Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab in this year’s Assembly election, for offering freebies amid the ongoing polls.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, at the outset, told the petitioner’s counsel: “You have a hidden agenda…this PIL should be dismissed with exemplary costs. Who are you?”

The counsel replied that the petition has been filed by Surjit Singh Yadav, Vice President of NGO Hindu Sena.

The bench, also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli, said: “Why have you mentioned a particular party, as if nobody else is doing it.”

Justice Bopanna said: “There is a hidden agenda.”

The counsel submitted that he will withdraw the petition. Concluding the hearing, the bench said such petitions are only publicity interest litigations.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to examine a plea seeking registration of FIRs and disqualification of candidates belonging to various political parties, for offering freebies amid the ongoing polls in five states.

The petition sought a direction to disqualify candidates fielded by the Congress, and Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh and also the candidates representing Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab in this year’s Assembly election.

The plea said: “An offer or promise by a political party, its leader, candidates set up in the elections, may be declared to be indulging in corrupt practices and bribery in terms of provisions of Section 123 (1)(b) of the Representations of People Act, 1951 and the candidates set up by such political parties may be declared disqualified from contesting the election in that state.”

The petitioner said he has come across the offer of freebies made by the leaders of the Congress, SP and AAP during the Assembly elections, 2022 which are being held in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa, and Manipur.

The plea urged the top court to issue directions to register FIRs against the political parties for inducing voters by making offer of gifts, goods, money from the public exchequer, if they are voted to form the government in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur respectively for an offence committed under Section 123(1)(A) of Representation of People Act, 1951.

“The petitioner has witnessed in the last five years that registered political parties to induce the voter in their favour have been making offer/promise of freebies like free water, fee electricity, free Wi-Fi, free gifts like bicycle, laptop, mobile phones, etc., if voted to form the government,” said the plea.

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