The Allahabad High Court has dismissed a PIL challenging the Samajwadi Smartphone Scheme proposed by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
The Lucknow bench of the high court said, “Since the petitioner has failed to place any such provision which bars making such declarations…, no interference of this court is warranted.”
The high court, however, said that keeping in view the petitioner’s enthusiasm for a free and fair election, “we hereby give him liberty to suggest some preventive measures to the Election Commission of India or the Chief Electoral Officer of the state to be adopted for conducting the election fairly”.
A division bench of Justice Shri Narain Shukla and Justice Anant Kumar delivered the judgement on October 7 on a PIL filed by a lawyer, seeking directions for restraining public authorities/functionaries of the state from making such announcements for ensuring a free and fair election to the Assembly in 2017.
Petitioner Ajmal Khan referred to the Information Department’s September 5 notice on the scheme and said it was “bad in eyes of law as it was an allurement for voters”.
On behalf of the state government, Additional Advocate General Bulbul Godiyal contended that this petition was not maintainable as the petitioner had earlier filed another plea on the same subject, which was dismissed by the court.
In this way, this second petition was also liable to be dismissed, she said.
The Samajwadi Smartphone Scheme proposes to distribute free smartphones among people who are at least 18 years old on January 1, 2017, with an annual income of maximum Rs 6 lakh, and have passed Class X.
The Chief Minister is scheduled to formally launch the registration process for the scheme on October 10 and the distribution of phones will begin next year after a new government takes over.