PIL on “Freebies”

PIL on “Freebies”

Recently a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court to issue direction regarding “freebies” by political parties. Hearing the petition the Apex Court observed that there is difference between “freebies” and welfare measures”.

Hearing the petition the Bench headed by CJI went to the extent of proposing the constitution of expert body consisting Niti Aayog, Law Commission, Finance Commission, Reserve Bank of India, ruling and opposition parties etc. However, Election Commission declined to be part it.

Some experts believe that it is case of judicial overreach. It is complex socio-political matter and therefore the courts ought to stay away from it.

CJI NV Ramana remarked that, “You cannot prevent a political party or individual from making promises that are aimed at fulfilling this constitutional mandate if elected to power. The question is what exactly qualifies as a valid promise”.

 

In the latest hearing (17th August), the apex court asked, “

 

The Constitution of India in the Directive Principles of State Policy (Part IV) provides various provision regarding welfare measures.

(1) The State shall strive to promote the welfare
of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as
it may a social order in which justice, social, economic
and political, shall inform all the institutions of the
national life.
(2) The State shall, in particular, strive to minimise
the inequalities in income, and endeavour to eliminate
inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities, not
only amongst individuals but also amongst groups of
people residing in different areas or engaged in different
vocations.

Moreover, Supreme Courts in its various leading judgments expanded the scope of Right to Life (Article 21).

  • Right to Health: State of Punjab vs. Mahinder Singh Chawla, AIR, 1997
  • Right to Shelter: U.P. Avas Vikas Parishad vs. Friends Cooperative Housing Society Ltd., AIR 1996
  • Right to Education: J.P. Unnikrishnan vs. State of Andhra Pradesh, AIR 1993
  • Pollution Free Water and Air: B.L. Wadhera vs. Union of India, AIR 1996

There are plenty of judgements that are expanding the horizon of right to life. Its obvious that State has to go extra mile to provide minimum basic infrastructure and amenities to dignified life to all its citizens.

 

“freebies” is term, difficult to define, should be completely separated from economic welfare measures and constitutional mandates to provide dignified life to all citizens.

Related post