Supreme Court rejects petition to delay Budget due to state elections

For the first time, breaking away from 92-year-old practice, the Railway Budget will be presented as part of the Union Budget and was scheduled to be presented on February 1.

Supreme Court rejects petition to delay Budget due to state elections

The Supreme Court today has rejected the plea to delay the presentation of the Union Budget as five states are going to polls starting February 4.

The public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate ML Sharma wanted the Centre to present the Budget in the financial year 2017-18, which starts from April 1, as against the proposed date of February 1. However, Supreme Court ruled that there is no illustration to support that presentation of Union Budget would influence voters' mind in state elections.


For the first time, breaking away from 92-year-old practice, the Railway Budget will be presented as part of the Union Budget and was scheduled to be presented on February 1.

The PIL came after the Election Commission announced the dates for Assembly elections in five states--Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Goa and Punjab. While Goa and Punjab will vote on February 4, in Uttar Pradesh election will be held in seven phases from February 11 to March 8. Manipur will vote in two phases on March 4 and March 8, while Uttarakhand will go to polls on February 15.

However, on Friday, a bench comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud, which has sought material and legal provisions in support of the PIL, preferred to go through the additional affidavit filed by the petitioner. The PIL stated the Central government be restrained from declaring "any relief, programme, financial budget until the elections are over" as they would violate the Model Code of Conduct.

As soon as the election dates were announced, the opposition had objected to presenting the Union Budget on February 1, alleging that this will give the BJP an unfair advantage. However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley defended the move asking why the Opposition parties were afraid of the Budget when they claimed that demonetisation was an unpopular decision. Calling it a constitutional necessity, Arun Jaitley said  the interim budget was presented in 2014 few days before the General Elections.