In an apparent dig at Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Rashtriya Lok Dal president Jayant Singh Chaudhary asked what freebies the CJI gets in a tweet put out on Thursday. “What are the ‘freebies’ provided to the Honourable Chief Justice of India?” Chaudhary asked in a series of tweets following the apex court’s observations during a hearing in a case seeking to deregister political parties that offer freebies.
Terming the promise and distribution of freebies by political parties during elections as a “serious issue”, a CJI-led bench said that the money can be better spent on infrastructure and development activities in the country. The court, while making these observations, also clarified that it will not consider the prayer to deregister political parties for announcing or distributing freebies.
“I don’t want to enter the arena of deregistration of the political parties as it is an undemocratic arena. We are a democracy after all,” the CJI remarked, adding that he is usually very reluctant to interfere in issues that have to be taken up by the legislature. “I’m a strict conservative, I don’t like to interfere with the legislature or executive,” the CJI added.
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The court, however, stressed upon the need for maintaining fiscal discipline and came down heavily on political parties for handing out freebies ahead of elections. “It’s definitely an issue of concern and financial discipline has to be there, but in a country like India where poverty is there, we can’t ignore that issue. The economy is losing money. The need for people’s welfare has to be balanced,” the CJI said during a hearing on Thursday.
Reacting to the court’s remarks, Chaudhary argued that the bottom of the pyramid needs direct intervention either through ration or financial support. “Recent remarks by the SC appear to be quite adventurist & are not in the right spirit! Bottom of the pyramid needs direct intervention whether in ration or through financial support. This relates to protection of fundamental rights including right to life!” Chaudhary said.
The RLD chief’s remarks come amid an ongoing political war on the concept of freebies after Prime Minister Narendra Modi questioned the culture and used the term ‘Revdi’ to describe it.
“Today in our country, attempts are being made to collect votes by distributing free revdis (sweets). This revdi culture is very dangerous for the development of the country. People of the country, especially the youth, need to be careful of this revdi culture. People of revdi culture will not build expressways, airports or defence corridors for you,” the Prime Minister had said recently.