The Supreme Court on Friday said it found nothing wrong in the government’s move to advance the presentation of the Union Budget in Parliament by almost a month, on February 1, amid the run-up to the elections in five States.
“So what is the big deal in that? It is only the presentation of the Budget. Everybody will get to know a little in advance on what the government is going to do. Any problems, everybody will get a due chance to object,” Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar told advocate Manohar Lal Sharma.
Mr. Sharma, in a PIL petition, had sought the postponement of the annual Budget till after the elections are over. He said it could contain sops to influence the voters in the Assembly elections, and was thus a violation of the poll code.
“We do not understand what your problem is. You are saying the Budget is presented usually towards March 1 and this year it is on February 1… We do not find any justification, tentatively, in what you are saying,” Chief Justice Khehar, who was accompanied on the Bench by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, said.
The court said there is only a government statement that the Budget is going to be presented on February 1.
“So what provision of law is violated by this statement? What provision of the Indian Constitution is violated here?” Chief Justice Khehar asked.
The court adjourned the hearing till Friday next, giving Mr. Sharma an opportunity to research his case and tidy up his arguments.
The court had recently refused to grant an urgent hearing in the case, saying that it would come up for hearing in due course.
The petition has also sought a direction to strip the BJP of its ‘lotus’ party symbol on the ground that it violated the model code of conduct by presenting the Budget after the declaration of the dates for the Assembly elections in the five States.
20 Feb 2020
21 Feb 2020