The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked whether ruling political parties providing universal healthcare, access to drinking water and access to consumer electronics can be treated as giving freebies or whether such provisions are in fact the rights of citizens. .A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana remarked that the Court will have to consider what exactly constitutes a 'freebie' to decide the plea to ban freebies offered by political parties in their election manifestos. "One of the suggestions is that State political parties cannot be prevented from making promises to the electorate. Now it has to be defined what is freebie. Can universal healthcare, access to drinking water, access to consumer electronics be treated as freebie," the CJI asked.He also highlighted beneficial legislations like like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act."There are schemes are MNREGA which gives dignity of living. I dont think promises alone are not the basis of parties being elected solely. Some makes promises and even then they are not elected. All of you give your opinions and then after debate only we can come to a conclusion," the CJI said.The Court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking directions to the Central government and the Election Commission to take steps to regulate poll manifestos of political parties and to parties accountable for promises made in such manifestos.The plea by Updhayay has opposed the practice of political parties giving/ promising freebies to voters..The Supreme Court during today's hearing said that all stakeholders will have to be heard at length on what constitutes freebies. It then posted the case for further consideration on August 22, Monday. Up until now, various political parties and leaders have opposed the plea. The Aam Aadmi Party has stated that the plea by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay is a "political interest litigation."The AAP, in an intervention application, said that if a discussion has to take place on “freebies” and their connection to the fiscal health of the country, then the discussion has to be first in respect of what is being given to politicians, ministers, and Members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies."If the idea is resource conservation within the nation, then the beginning point of that should not be the deserving masses who are constitutionally entitled to support in attaining a dignified standard of living," the AAP said..Congress leader Dr. Jaya Thakur has submitted that it is the duty of the government to uplift weaker sections of the society and framing schemes and providing subsidies for the same is the duty of ruling parties which run the government.Giving such subsidies and concessions to citizens is in discharge of Constitutional mandate and they cannot be termed freebies, Dr. Thakur's intervention application said. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has also opposed Upadhyay's plea.Senior Counsel P Wilson, appearing for DMK party, submitted on Wednesday that the DMK is opposing the plea and the petitioner is attempting to convert India from a socialist country to a capitalist country. The writ petition has been filed with object to frustrate the Directive Principles of State Policy, he argued..The Central government has, however, supported the petitioner, stating that freebies by political parties need to be regulated and the Supreme Court can step in and lay down something until the legislature frame a law in this regard.Freebies and populist promises by political parties have an adverse impact on economy and that is what often lead to economic disasters, the Centre told the Court on August 3.