Apex Court Notice To Odisha, Five States On Pre-Poll Cash Schemes

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday served notices to six states including Odisha, the Centre and the Election Commission of India (ECI) for announcing welfare schemes a few months before the elections.

A three-member division bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi issued the directive after accepting a special leave petition filed by Dr Pentapati Pulla Rao of Telangana.

The six states served notices are Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand, Karnataka and West Bengal.

Citing instances of cash transfer schemes like the Centre’s PM Kisan Yojana, Odisha government’s KALIA and Mukhyamantri Krushi Udyog Yojana, former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s Pasupu Kunkuma and Annadata Sukhibhava schemes, the Telangana government’s Rythu Bandhu scheme and similar schemes by the Jharkhand, Karnataka and Bengal governments just before the elections, the petitioner contended that the Centre and the six states had introduced schemes to influence voters, which was against the spirit of the Constitution.

While underlying the importance of framing specific guidelines in case of such schemes, the petitioner urged the apex court to declare cash transfer schemes null and void to various beneficiaries six months before elections.

Concurring with the petitioner’s argument, the apex court served notices to the Centre, the ECI and chief secretaries of the six aforesaid states to furnish a reply.

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