A Public Interest litigation (PIL) challenging the announcement of “freebies” by political parties in the lead-up to elections, termed as “cash for votes,” has been filed in the High Court of Karnataka by four retired military personnel. The PIL, filed by Brigadier Ravi Muniswamy, Naib Subedar Ramesh Jagathap, Naik Manikanta A, and Havaldar Basappa Pattanashetty, is pending listing for a hearing. The petition argues that political parties, by offering freebies before and after elections, create a pattern to secure power.
It contends that this practice falls under the category of “cash for votes” as per the provisions of the Representation of Peoples Act.
The PIL asserts that such declarations by political parties contravene both legal provisions and the Constitution of India.
The petition specifically mentions the Indian National Congress party in Karnataka, alleging that it secured power in the state by promising freebies such as Gruha Lakshmi, Gruha Jyothi, and Shakti Yojane. The petitioners argue that such inducements compromise the fairness of elections and adversely impact the country’s economy, causing various challenges for the citizens.
The Election Commission of India, along with the union and state governments, as well as the political parties BJP, Congress, and JD(S), has been named as respondents in the PIL.