New Delhi: A minister distributing pension prior to the election does not amount to corrupt practices as it is a legal right unless it was distributed after he/she had
become a candidate at the commencement of the nomination process, the Supreme Court has ruled.
"It is not difficult to infer that the distribution of pension to the eligible persons in the constituency or even outside the constituency was part of the discharge of official
duty as minister and it is nobody`s case that this distribution did not lie within the legal domain of the minister who could order distribution of pension to the eligible persons in the area who were either old, handicapped or widow.
"Therefore, distribution of pension to old age/widow/handicapped persons which was ordered or approved ensuring its distribution could not possibly be inferred as an
action which could amount to indulgence in corrupt practice," a bench of justices JM Panchal and Gyan Sudha Mishra said in a judgment.
The apex court passed the judgement while upholding the election of Govind Singh, former social welfare minister in Shiromani Akali Dal government in Punjab whose election was set aside by the Punjab and Haryana High Court for alleged corrupt practices.
The High Court had set aside the election on the petition of the defeated candidate Harchand Kaur.