Supreme Court seeks replies from Centre, EC on freebies

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought replies from the Centre and the Election Commission on a PIL seeking direction to seize the symbol or deregister a political party that promises or distributes “irrational freebies” before polls, saying it is a “serious issue” as sometimes “freebie budget is going beyond regular budget”.

A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices A S Bopanna and Hima Kohli sought the response in four weeks on the PIL filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay. The plea, filed ahead of assembly polls in five states, said there should be a total ban on such populist measures to gain undue political favour from voters as they violate the Constitution and the EC should take suitable deterrent measures.