The Gujarat High Court on Monday decided to hear a plea seeking direction to the Election Commission to stop political parties from issuing manifestos and to hold them liable for making unkept pre-poll promises. A bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi admitted the plea for hearing in due course after petitioner Jayesh Shah, a Congress worker, removed an office objection as per the court’s earlier order.
Shah, also the managing trustee of Seva Trust, said he has sought the court’s intervention into the matter as the concerned authorities have not taken any action against political parties making tall promises in their manifestos. He said they are “nothing but mere pieces of papers and no accountability is attached to the publication of manifestos.”
Shah said the “public at large is being misguided to support a particular political party” due to promises made in its manifesto. The petitioner highlighted two manifestos, including one issued by the BJP before the 2014 polls, to make his case. He said that “the then elected party had in 2014 issued a manifesto wherein it promised to ensure vibrant and participatory democracy, empower and inspire people, provide inclusive and sustainable development, quality life in villages and cities, flourishing agriculture, productive youth, etc.”
“The above goals and pledge by the then elected party only remained in books and none of the goals have been achieved even as on today,” the petition alleged. “By issuance of such manifestos, the public at large is being misguided to support a particular party … promises and goals are made to entice voters to vote in their favour,” it further alleged.
The petitioner maintained that he is not against any particular political party, but intended to highlight the large gap between promises made in a manifesto and the actual deliverance of promises once a party attains power by taking voters on its side.
The Gujarat government and the Election Commission have been made respondents in the case. The matter is likely to come up for hearing in due course.