Freebies and welfare schemes two different things, says Supreme Court

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Noting that freebies and social welfare schemes are two different things, the Supreme Court on Thursday said a balance has to be struck between the economy losing money and welfare measures. The court also ruled out the possibility of considering a plea for de-recognising parties for making promises to give freebies.

A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justice Krishna Murari said the idea to de-recognise political parties for making promises to give irrational freebies during the polls was ‘undemocratic’ and asked stakeholders to give suggestions on this aspect before August 17. “I do not want to enter the area of de-registering a political party etc as it is an undemocratic idea. We are a democracy after all,” the CJI said.

However, he added that the promise to grant irrational freebies during the poll process is a ‘serious issue’. “You can call me reluctant or conservative but I do not want to encroach upon the legislative domain. I am a strict orthodox. I do not want to encroach on the areas meant for the legislature. This is a serious issue. It is not an easy thing. Let us hear others also,” the bench said.

The SC was hearing a PIL filed by lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, which opposes the practice of political parties promising freebies during elections and seeks the Election Commission to invoke its powers to freeze their election symbols and cancel their registration.

“Freebies and the social welfare schemes are different. Economy losing the money and the welfare of people, both have to be balanced and that is why, this debate. There must be someone who can put their vision and thoughts. Please submit something before my retirement,” the CJI, who is demitting office on August 26, said.

Taking note of the submissions of senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Upadhyay, the bench said it is a “serious issue and those who are getting (the freebies), they want it. Ours is a welfare state. Some may say that they are paying taxes and it has to be used for developmental processes. So both sides have to be heard by committee.”

The poll panel, in its August 10 additional affidavit, told the Supreme Court that it welcomed the suggestion of setting up an expert panel to brainstorm the issue of freebies announced during elections. 

ALSO READ | Subsidy given for poor is welfare measure, not freebie: Experts

NEW DELHI:  Noting that freebies and social welfare schemes are two different things, the Supreme Court on Thursday said a balance has to be struck between the economy losing money and welfare measures. The court also ruled out the possibility of considering a plea for de-recognising parties for making promises to give freebies.

A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justice Krishna Murari said the idea to de-recognise political parties for making promises to give irrational freebies during the polls was ‘undemocratic’ and asked stakeholders to give suggestions on this aspect before August 17. “I do not want to enter the area of de-registering a political party etc as it is an undemocratic idea. We are a democracy after all,” the CJI said.

However, he added that the promise to grant irrational freebies during the poll process is a ‘serious issue’.
 “You can call me reluctant or conservative but I do not want to encroach upon the legislative domain. I am a strict orthodox. I do not want to encroach on the areas meant for the legislature. This is a serious issue. It is not an easy thing. Let us hear others also,” the bench said.

The SC was hearing a PIL filed by lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, which opposes the practice of political parties promising freebies during elections and seeks the Election Commission to invoke its powers to freeze their election symbols and cancel their registration.

“Freebies and the social welfare schemes are different. Economy losing the money and the welfare of people, both have to be balanced and that is why, this debate. There must be someone who can put their vision and thoughts. Please submit something before my retirement,” the CJI, who is demitting office on August 26, said.

Taking note of the submissions of senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Upadhyay, the bench said it is a “serious issue and those who are getting (the freebies), they want it. Ours is a welfare state. Some may say that they are paying taxes and it has to be used for developmental processes. So both sides have to be heard by committee.”

The poll panel, in its August 10 additional affidavit, told the Supreme Court that it welcomed the suggestion of setting up an expert panel to brainstorm the issue of freebies announced during elections. 

ALSO READ | Subsidy given for poor is welfare measure, not freebie: Experts