Petitioner ends arguments on free TVs in Tamil Nadu

Last Updated: Tue, Nov 27, 2012 16:10 hrs

New Delhi, Nov 27 (IANS) The Supreme Court hearing a plea against distribution of free TVs and mixer−grinders by the Tamil Nadu government to people moved a step forward Tuesday with the petitioner concluding his final arguments, a lawyer said.

Counsel for the state government also started his arguments, said a Chennai−based lawyer who appeared for petitioner S. Subramaniam Balaji.

Balaji filed the case against the previous DMK government's scheme to give away free colour TVs as well as against the present AIADMK government's scheme to distribute mixers and grinders free of cost to women and laptops for students.

Balaji's counsel Arvind P. Datar said the Election Commission (EC) might state its views on the issue during the next hearing slated for Dec 4.

Datar told IANS: "The Election Commission took time to file its response. The next hearing is on Dec 4. Today (Tuesday) I concluded my arguments. Counsel for Tamil Nadu government began his arguments."

Datar said in his arguments he stressed that what was applicable for an individual candidate in the poll fray was equally applicable to a political party.

The free colour TV scheme was implemented by the previous DMK government as a part of its poll promise in 2006.

Datar also said the AIADMK government's free laptop for students was violative of Article 14 of the Constitution that provides for equality before law.

He said the AIADMK's free laptop scheme does not include students of law and medicine.

Speaking to IANS, Balaji said: "The EC in a letter to me dated Aug 30, 2011, had clearly said 'the Commission also feels like you that the promise of such freebies at government cost disturbs the level playing field and vitiates the electoral process'."

According to Balaji, the EC in the same letter also said that as per the provisions in Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act, a declaration of a public policy or a promise of public action was neither a corrupt practice nor an electoral offence.

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