Nagpur: The Bombay High Court was taken by a surprise as a curious Public Interest Litigation (PIL), seeking a direction to the Election Commission of India to frame guidelines with respect to disclosure of the information regarding the status of the promises made in the election manifestos either by the ruling political parties or the candidates before the next election, was filed before it on January 25, 2019. The PIL further sought inclusion of the information in the Model Code of Conduct thereby enabling the voters to make an informed choice before they decide to elect their representatives.
The PIL has been filed by one Akshay Bajad. The petition states that such a disclosure on part of the political parties would not only enable the voters to make a better informed choice but would also repose confidence in such political parties. Furthermore, such a disclosure would also keep a check upon the political parties inasmuch as all such parties/candidates shall publish their manifestos after thorough research thereby restraining them from making false promises with a view to wooing their vote banks.
The PIL further states that the Supreme Court, keeping in mind the importance of poll manifestoes of political parties, had directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to frame necessary guidelines in this regard. Subsequently, the ECI framed the guidelines but did not monitor whether the political parties or candidates fulfilled the manifesto promises. And thus the ECI deprived the voters of such vital information. Hence the PIL, filed by Akshay Bajad, has sought discloser of fulfilled poll promises by political parties before the Election Commission of India and the ECI in turn should make the information public.
The hearing on the curious PIL is slated to be held before the division bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice N M Jamdar next week. The PIL has sought it mandatory for the political parties and candidates to file status of promises fulfilled before the Election Commission for contesting the next elections. The PIL has also sought directions to Central Government to revise Rule 4(A) and Form 26 of ‘Conduct of Election Rules, 1962.’