Is announcement of free colour TVs in election manifestos in return for votes a “corrupt practice”?In 2013, the Supreme Court replied that a promise in the election manifesto did not amount to an electoral corrupt practice under the Representation of People Act (RPA).
The court was then deciding a challenge against the free distribution of 30,000 colour TVs by the DMK after its victory in the 2006 Assembly polls. The party’s manifesto had promised TVs for every household. On Wednesday, Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, presiding over a seven-judge Constitution Bench, contradicted the apex court’s 2013 stand. The Chief Justice did not mince words. He said promises like free TVs and money in election manifestos were nothing short of bribery.