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Supreme Court says freebies may push state towards bankruptcy; Refers matter to three-judge bench

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The Supreme Court has noted that freebies announced by political parties may push the state towards imminent bankruptcy. A bench, headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana and comprising Justices Hima Kohli and CT Ravikumar said freebies may create a situation wherein the state government cannot provide basic amenities due to lack of funds.

The apex court said such freebies are extended utilising tax payers’ money only for increasing the popularity of the party and electoral prospects.

The court emphasised that the issues raised by the parties require an extensive hearing before any concrete orders can be passed and referred the pleas against freebies to a 3-judge bench. The court listed the matter for further hearing after 4 weeks.

The top court order came on petitions by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay and others seeking directions to the Centre and the Election Commission to take steps to regulate poll manifestos of political parties and also opposed the practice of political parties giving or promising freebies to induce voters during polls.

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