AAP files intervention application before Supreme Court in plea seeking de-registration of parties promising ‘Irrational Freebies’

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An intervention application has been filed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) urging the Supreme Court to dismiss Upadhyay’s petition without any further proceedings and requesting to not go into the issue of freebies at the behest.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has filed an application of intervention before the Supreme Court in the plea seeking de-registration of political parties promising ‘Irrational Freebies’ for voters from public funds.

AAP contends that the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is a “non-partisan litigation” and alleges petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay’s strong ties to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

AAP submits that Upadhyay has previously served as BJP’s spokesperson and as a leader of its Delhi unit. It also alleges that Upadhyay’s “frivolous petitions” filed in the name of public interest, often inspired by this party's political agenda, have previously been criticized by Court in the past.

AAP further contends that Upadhyay is attempting to conceal a thinly veiled attempt to advance a particular political agenda behind the false illusion of Public Interest Litigation. It is further added that Upadhyay’s lack of bonafide is compounded as he does not disclose his ties with a particular ruling party and introduces himself as a “social-political activist”.

The application alleges that while referring vaguely to "freebies," Upadhyay clearly seeks judicial action against a specific model of economic development by exclusively targeting fiscal expenditure on socialist and welfare measures for the masses.

It further alleges that Upadhyay’s concern is clearly and solely with whether such policies may be advertised or promised by parties in their electoral campaigns, not with whether such freebies are actually provided by a government once elected. It also alleges Upadhyay’s case as “political interest litigation”.

The Application states that Upadhyay fails to recognize that a “socialist and welfare economic” agenda is built into the Indian Constitution via the Preamble and the Directive Principles of State Policy, and is thus the constitutional mandate of any elected government.

AAP states that Upadhyay’s prayer to prohibit political parties from promising or making any claims about how they intend to meet this mandate is not only “untenable”, but also “malafide”. It further states that by removing socialist and welfare agendas from electoral discourse, Upadhyay seeks to advance the interests of a different, more parochial type of politics based on caste and communal appeals rather than appeals to the people’s welfare.

On the aforementioned grounds, the application by AAP urges the Supreme Court to dismiss Upadhyay’s petition without any further proceedings and requests to not go into the issue of freebies at the behest.

On August 3, 2022, Appearing for Union of India in the PIL, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued before the Top Court that freebies distort the informed decision making of voters. The Supreme Court issued notice in the plea in January, 2022.

Case Title: Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India and Anr.