A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking to restrain political parties from offering loan waivers and other monetary schemes in their election manifestos saying that these plans involve public funds and adversely affect the economy. The plea said the Centre as also the states should not be allowed to waive loans and banks need to be restrained from technical write-offs of non-performing assets (NPA) to ensure that their financial condition is not camouflaged.

The petition, filed by advocate Reena N Singh, is listed for hearing on April 22 before a bench headed by Justice SA Bobde. Singh said the Centre and states should formulate an agricultural policy which makes the sector profitable and assists farmers in becoming prosperous, increasing their interest in farming.

“Political parties should not be permitted to offer loan waiving schemes or any other monetary schemes in their election manifestos,” the petition said.

“The political parties whether in power or in opposition should not be allowed to manipulate public funds for their political motives to attract a section of mass voters or vote banks at the cost of public funds which belongs to country,” it said.

Besides the Centre, states and Union Territories, the plea has arrayed as parties the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Election Commission of India (ECI), Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Finance.

The plea said that waiver of bank loans should not be allowed to ensure transparency and fairness regarding use of public funds.

It said political parties are offering loan waiver schemes in their election manifesto by ignoring its negative effects on the Indian economy and they are using this “offer of manipulation of public fund as a tool to achieve their political motives to come to power”.

The political parties are offering to waive the loan from the government exchequer gathered by taxation and not from their political party funds, it said.