A delegation of opposition parties approached the Election Commission on Thursday regarding the issue.

SC refuses urgent plea on deferring budgetPTI/file photo
news Politics Friday, January 06, 2017 - 12:26

The Supreme Court refused an urgent hearing plea on Friday seeking that the Union Budget for 2017-18 be deferred till April.

The public suit by advocate ML Sharma came in the wake of the staggered election dates being announced for five state assemblies between February 4 and March 8.

Thus, presenting the budget now would violate the Model Code of Conduct which has come into force with the announcement of the election schedule, the petitioner contended.

A bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said that they would decide the issue when it comes in its normal course.

This comes after a delegation of opposition parties comprising the Congress, TMC, JD(U), SP, BSP, RJD and the DMK  parties approached the Election Commission on Thursday regarding the issue.

The Union Budget is scheduled for February 1. 

"We told them that allowing the budget ahead of the polls gives an unfair advantage to the (BJP) government and how the exercise can be used to influence the voters," Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told the media. 

The EC gave the opposition a patient hearing, he added. 

TMC Lok Sabha member Derek O'Brien hoped that the EC would address their concerns. 

"There is enough time to present the budget after March 8. That is the fair way to do it. Not only the EC has to be fair but it has to be seen to be fair. We are optimistic," said O'Brien. 

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, slammed the opposition over this. 

"The budget is a constitutional duty and not related to any one state. The presentation of the budget is not a sudden decision," said Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.  

 

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