The Delhi High Court on Wednesday queried the Election Commission, why hasn’t it taken action against political parties, which violated guidelines on corrupt practices and offered cash transfers to voters in their manifestos.
As counsel representing the poll body said it has already issued guidelines in relation to corrupt practices and had sent it to the political parties, a bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said: “Why are you shying from taking action? Start taking action. Don’t just issue notices and letters.”
The bench further added that it wants to see what action has been taken, and the poll body can also mention its proposed action in the matter.
The high court also sought a response from the Centre on the petition, which claimed cash for vote promise violates Section 123 of the Representation of People Act.
Senior advocate Soumya Chakraborty, representing petitioners, submitted when cash is offered, which is not against any labour, then it is not supported by any policy and countenanced in the Constitution.
The petition had also point out that the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party, in 2019 general election, offered cash to certain sections of the society. The Congress had announced Nyuntam aay Yogyna — NYAY scheme. The high court issued notice to both these parties.
Citing the SC’s 2013 judgment in the S. Subramaniam Balaji case, the EC counsel contended before the bench that it had issued strict guidelines for the political parties in relation to corrupt practices.
Chakraborty added that during the pandemic, funds were transferred in people’s account, which was an extraordinary situation. He added that if a trend were to pick up, where political parties begin giving money not against any work, then industries, and agriculture will finish.
A PIL was filed by two advocates Parashar Narayan Sharma and Capt Gurvinder Singh claiming that offering of cash without any work in election manifestos has to be declared illegal. The high court has scheduled further hearing on the matter on September 24.