The freebies issue, presently subjudice at the top court of the India, is gaining momentum on each passing day while the political parties have also been roped in to make some ambiguous things clear to come up with the decision whether to do away with the ‘culture’ adopted by the mainstream parties across the country.
From time to time, the political parties just a month or so ahead of the elections, usually woo the voters by announcing freebies with regard to the government-run schemes, electricity, water and other things. But, when we look at the freebies, these are just usual and basic facilities, which the government of the day has to ensure for the people.
Certain factors cannot be ruled out that the government is duty-bound to ensure basic facilities to the people and also provide benefits to them under the government-run schemes, but, providing the facilities to the people at no cost, is undoubtedly a grave issue, which has caught the eye of Supreme Court after a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by a lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay in January this year, seeking action against the political parties promising freebies.
Some freebies are set to affect the States or the country economically and thus it becomes imperative to take a call to put an end to such happenings. The freebies are also being linked directly with the bribe on many occasions as the people being asked to vote on the basis of some freebies is something that is attracting the voters to move towards the announcements that can help them in getting perks at the end of the day.
Although under section 123 of the Representation of Peoples Act, only a few issues have been declared as bribe, the freebies have not been mentioned there as the practice doesn’t involve the direct inducement to vote for or against anyone.
Since freebies is a grave issue, the ball is now in the SC’s court and it should take a decision keeping all the ramifications and effects in consideration to decide whether the freebies need to be declared as bribe.
The top court has already proposed the constitution of an expert body to address the issue of freebies and poll promises while the committee has to play a key role in differentiating between freebies and the bribe.