Electoral promises routinely remain unfulfilled and manifestos turn out to be mere pieces of paper, for which political parties must be held accountable, Chief Justice of India J S Khehar said on Saturday.
"Now a days manifestos have become a mere piece of paper, for this political parties have to be made accountable," the CJI said at a seminar titled 'Economic Reforms with Reference to Electoral issues'.
The chief justice pointed out "brazen” excuses political parties use, such as a lack of consensus among party members, to justify not fulfilling their poll promises. Khehar emphasised that outfits must be held accountable for turning manifestos into "pieces of paper” even if people have "short-term memory” with regard to what they had been promised.
However, the Election Commission has also been taking action against parties for violating the model code of conduct, as per apex court’s directive, he added.
Speaking about the party manifestos released ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the CJI said none of them highlighted any connection between electoral reforms and the Constitutional goal of "ensuring economic-social justice to the marginalised sections”.
The chief justice made the statements in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee and Justice Dipak Misra.
Talking about constitutional values, Khehar said political parties should focus on the way to operate the economic system for the good governance of the mass through constitutional means. Meanwhile, President Pranab Mukherjee in his speech talked about the accountability of the elected representatives by saying that all the political parties will have to develop a voluntary code of conduct for their working.
Justice Dipak Misra, 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".