A very appealing public interest litigation, 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 political parties or the candidates contesting elections before the next election and include the same in the Model Code of Conduct thereby enabling the voters to make an informed choice before they decide to select their representatives, came before Bombay High Court for hearing last month. (Reg. No.:- PIL/15/2019)
Why Election Manifesto?
The petitioner Akshay Bajad, who is a researcher and social activist, in the PIL filed through Talekar and Associates says election manifestos have become guides for voters to know the political party and the policies they seek to implement when elected. There is no law governing such election manifestos in India other than guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India, says the petition, which counsel S B Talekar had mentioned before a bench of chief justice Naresh Patil and Justice Nitin Jamdar.
The bench asked lawyer for the central government, Carina Xavier, to let the court know its stand. The HC also asked that the petition be served on the ECI. The matter will now be heard on 26/03/2019.
The petition states that such 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 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 filling their vote banks.
The petitioner says last May, the ECI had, in response to his representations, said monitoring promises made in earlier manifestos was not part of its function.
If this Public Interest Litigation (PIL) will be allowed all the persons or the parties which are going to contest in the elections have to disclose of the information regarding the status of the promises made in the election manifesto leading to the enhancement in the transparency as well as accountability. The primary target of the petition is to target the fake promises made by the parties or the candidates to fool people and to take votes using their sentiments or sometimes showing them fake bright dreams. In a nutshell, it can be said that this Public Interest Litigation is interesting moreover appealing in the sense that it will force the political parties to remove such promises which after winning elections got termed as “Jumlas”.