SC dismisses PIL for delaying budget till after state polls

The Supreme Court today dismissed a public interest litigation seeking a direction to the central government to put off the presentation of the union budget from 1 February till the assembly elections in the five states due next month are completed.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar dismissed the petition filed by advocate ML Sharma as the petitioner failed to point out how the preponing of the union budget to 1 February from 28 February would influence electorate in the five states that are going to polls.

"These are state elections. What has the union budget got to do with it?" CJI Khehar asked.

Sharma obviously failed to convince the bench how the budget would affect state elections despite repeated questions from the judges.

"Give us one concrete example. How will it affect the electorate? Going by your logic no Budget can be presented," the Bench remarked while dismissing the petition.

Sharma had the stock answer that it amounted to violating the model code of conduct. The bench then told Sharama to seek redressal from the Election Commission. "You can go to the Election Commission".

As Sharma insisted that the court should give a verdict, the apex court dismissed the petition.

The PIL wanted a direction to the centre to present the union budget in the financial year 2017-18 which would commence from 1 April, instead of the proposed 1 February and also sought that the central government be restrained from declaring ''any relief, programme, financial budget until the states' elections are over'' as they would violate the Model Code of Conduct.

The poll panel had annoucnced the election schedule on 4 January to be held in five states, including Uttar Pradesh. The centre has already decided to convene the Budget Session of Parliament from 31 January to present the Budget for 2017-18 fiscal the very next day.