- It is fascinating to note that how elections play out an essential part in strengthening the democratic credentials of the Indian Republic. Not for nothing, the elections times are termed as festivals for the energy, resources, color, chutzpah, buzz, and din created over a certain period is simply unparalleled. This must be experienced in person and millions would vouch for the sheer amount of novelty factor each election brings upon the electorate in the form of promises galore. One of the key factors for the country’s citizens to look forward to hearing from their chosen political party is the election manifestos. List of promises, assurances, and overpromises.
PC: Atul Singh
- People in the know would never fail to feel intrigued or surprised or for that matter doubtful for the doles and freebies promised by every single political party in their manifestos is unique and one better than the other. Without getting into details about those promises, it would suffice to say that those election pledges immensely help the political parties to position favorably or otherwise at the hustings. Undeniably, a significant number of people tend to get swayed by the manifesto by blessing a particular party during the polls in the hope of receiving whatever is promised. Whether such promises will be eventually fulfilled during the present term or the next or not at all will be best left to the discretion of the discerning public.
- Against this backdrop, it is interesting to note how six petitioners, five claiming to be tenants and the other a landlord, have landed Delhi Chief Minister in a spot of bother. This comes on the back of the Delhi High Court ordering the state government to decide on implementing the CM’s promise at a press conference held during the 2020 migrant exodus to pay rents for those unable to do so. Further, the court said a promise/assurance/representation given by the CM amounts to an enforceable promise. It also noted that a reasonable citizen would believe that the CM has spoken on behalf of his government and a CM’s solemn pledge cast a duty on the Delhi government to take a stand on enforcing the promise or not.
PC: Meenakshi Ray
- Looked from any angle, this judicial intervention is troubling and uncalled for. Political promises cannot be held against the netas when the judiciary is struggling to hold leaders accountable for failing the country’s umpteen laws. Promises or overpromises or assurances cannot be taken at face value as other extraneous considerations like the complexity of democracy, resource limitations, and demands of the political marketplace equally essay substantial roles. Recollect how garibi hatao and depositing Rs. 15 lakhs in everyone’s bank account made for a mouthwatering promise but remains just that, a promise which cannot be made good practice.
- Politicians will be under pressure to deliver goods on some of the promises made as disappointing voters has pitfalls too. As is known, politics is the art of the possible and hence, the leaders make impossible promises after duly calculating risks and rewards. Note that payback awaits come the polling day as the voters alone decide whether the risk was worth it. Therefore, the Courts should stay away from interfering in the dance of democratic festivals also known as election promises and assurances by not entertaining irrelevant petitions. There is any number of relevant cases desperately crying for remedy. The judiciary should expend their precious resources on these.