New Delhi: Taking a strong view against distribution of freebies by political parties and candidates, the Supreme Court on Friday expressed the need for a law to regulate their conduct. The apex court said distribution of freebies influence voters, shake the foundation of democracy and disturb level playing during elections.
The court directed the Election Commission to form guidelines in consultation with political parties to regulate the conduct of candidates. At present the Election Commission cannot regulate promises made by political parties before notification of elections under the present law.
Promises made by political parties in their manifestos to give freebies don't amount to corrupt practices under present law, the court observed.
A petition was filed in the apex court against freebies distributed by the previous DMK government and the current AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu. "I am confident of getting a positive verdict for India as a whole," city-based advocate S Subramaniam Balaji, who filed the case, told IANS.
The free colour TV scheme was implemented by the previous DMK government as a part of its poll promise in 2006 while its successor AIADMK government is implementing free mixers, grinders, fans and laptops for students and other freebies.
With the Lok Sabha elections slated for 2014 and upcoming assembly elections in some states this year, the court's observation is a landmark one preventing political parties from indulging in competitive populist poll promises, Balaji said.
(With additional information from IANS)