The five guarantee schemes announced in the election manifesto of the Congress party would not amount to corrupt practice committed by an individual candidate under the Representation of People Act, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has contented before the High Court of Karnataka.
In his statement seeking dismissal of the petition, which had questioned legality of his election to the Legislative Assembly from Varuna constituency, Mr. Siddaramaiah contended that guarantee schemes promised in the manifesto do not amount to bribery and undue influence under Section 123 of the RP Act.
K.M. Shankara, a voter from Mysuru, had questioned Mr. Siddaramaiah’s election.
Justice S. Sunil Dutt Yadav, who on September 20 took the statement filed by Mr. Siddaramaiah on record, adjourned hearing till October 6.
“The promises in question were integral components of the Congress party’s manifesto, and are distinct from individual offers made by the respondent to Varuna constituency voters. Section 123 of the Act explicitly confines its scope to candidates or agents, with no mention of political parties,” it was stated in the statement while contending that the petitioner has failed to give an instance of any individual corrupt practice by Mr. Siddaramaiah.
“The entire basis for the allegations made in the petition under Section 123 of the Act revolves around the guarantee welfare schemes, which unmistakably cannot be characterised as corrupt practices,” it was stated.
The manifesto in question is a statement of its policy and the question of its implementation arises only if the party is elected and forms the government, and hence it is not an individual promise made by a candidate, Mr. Siddaramaiah said while alleging that the petition was filed, without any evidence for corrupt, only to gain publicity.