Jayalalithaa's poll freebies to face legal action?

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Jayalalithaa
Chennai, Jun 13: J Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister, Tamil Nadu promise to poll freebies that includes giving away grinders, fans, laptops and mixers could come to standstill as the apex court is set to decide on a plea which will challenge such schemes.

S Subramaniam Balajai, a advocate moved to the apex court against DMK government's scheme which distributed free colour television calling it 'unconstitutional and bribery'.

Despite of DMK's free colour tv scheme being abandoned by the Jayalalithaa government, it will not affect his petition, said Balaji.

"The question of law still remains to be answered," said Balaji.

"The question raised by me still remains valid even though the Tamil Nadu government has scrapped the free CTV scheme," said Balaji adding that the schemes under the Representation of the People Act were equal to corrupt practices.

A petition was filed in the SC by Balaji in Aug, 2008 after his petiton was rejected by the Madurai Bench, Madras High Court.

"Poll promises are unconstitutional and bribery, amounting to corrupt practice under the Representation of the People Act," said Balaji.

"The government cannot enrich private individuals out of consolidated funds. The government cannot create a private asset out of public funds. Giving free CTVs or other items is precisely that," he said.

The Election Commission took a stand responding to one his charges that declaring a promise of public action that includes promises like giving away free Colour TV's or public policy was not a crime under the Indian Penal Code that allows a person to exercise his electoral right.

Distributing free CTV's among people was a scheme that was introduced by the DMK government which bought around 16.4 million colour tv sets (14-inch) costing them around Rs 3,687 crore.

Referring to the plea against the CTV scheme, legal experts said that the apex court had to decide whether to hear Balaji's plea or dispose it off by citing the new state government's move to scrap the scheme.

According to legal experts, the apex court will decide whether they will hear Balaji's petition or reject it referring to the Jayalalithaa government's step towards to abandon the scheme.

The court's judgement will also decide the fortune of freebies declared by the Jayalalithaa government, added the legal experts.

"Freebies are an important national issue. It would be better if the Supreme Court decides the question," said Arvind P Datar, senior advocate and a counsel of Balaji.

AIADMK had earlier promised to distribute free fans, grinders and mixers from Sep and said that the schemes will benefit around 2.5 million families.

The bill to the freebies could be more than thousands and crore of rupees said trade sources.

The Jayalalithaa government has announced that it would start free distribution of mixers, grinders and fans from Sep and around 2.5 million families will benefit from the scheme during the year 2011-12.

Government also promised to give free laptops to students of belonging to 11th and 12 th grade and about 912,000 students will benefit from the scheme in all government aided -owned schools in Sep.

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