Image courtesy:Hindustan Times

Questioning political parties’ lack of accountability, Chief Justice of India Jagdish Singh Khehar on Saturday said electoral promises routinely remain unfulfilled and political parties must be held accountable for them.

In a speech on Saturday, Khehar said political parties’ manifesto has remained just on paper. “Political parties’ manifestos do not indicate any link between economic reforms and Constitutional goal of economic and social justice.”

Slamming the political outfits, the CJI made the remarks at a seminar titled ‘Economic Reforms with Reference to Electoral issues’.

The CJI, speaking in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee, said political parties give ‘brazen’ excuses like lack of consensus amongst their members to justify non- fulfilment of their poll promises.

He said pursuant to Supreme Court’s directions to the Election Commission of India to formulate guidelines against freebies, the poll panel has been taking action against parties for violation of the model code of conduct.

Jagdish Singh Khehar is the 44th and current Chief Justice of India. Khehar is the first CJI from the Sikh community. He has been a judge in Supreme Court of India since 13 September 2011 and will retire on 27 August 2017 upon superannuation.

Khehar was the author of the judgment by a five-judge constitution bench that held “unconstitutional” the Constitution’s 99th amendment paving way for the National Judicial Appointment Commission and the National Judicial Appointment Commission Act, 2014.

On the manifestos released by political parties during the 2014 general elections, the CJI said, “None of them indicated any link between electoral reforms and Constitutional goal of ensuring economic-social justice to the marginalised section.”

Justice Dipak Misra is a judge of the Supreme Court of India. A former Chief Justice of the Patna and Delhi High Courts, he is in line to become the Chief Justice of India in 2017, succeeding Justice J. S. Khehar, the next senior-most judge, also stressed upon the need for electoral reforms saying that “purchasing power has no room in elections” and a candidate must bear in mind that “contesting elections is not an investment”.

He said that holding of elections has to be ‘bereft of or sans criminalisation’ and people should vote for candidates based on their high moral and ethical values and “not on their competitive demerits”.

“Candidates and voters must remember that out of debt is out of danger,” Justice Misra said, adding the day a voter goes to vote without being tempted “would be a glorious day for democracy”.