The Allahabad High Court has held that political parties cannot be penalised for failing to fulfill the promises made in their election manifestos, Live Law reported on Thursday.

The promises made in manifestos do not amount to a “binding force” and cannot be implemented through courts of law, a bench of Justice Dinesh Pathak observed.

While there is a provision to register a political party under the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the law does not provide for cancellation of the registration, the judge noted.

In 2020, a man named Khurshidurehman S Rehman had filed an application in a trial court in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh district, alleging that then Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah had made several promises in the election manifesto for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, which have not been fulfilled.

Rehman had alleged that Shah was guilty of fraud, cheating, criminal breach of trust, dishonesty, defamation and allurement, Live Law reported. The additional chief judicial magistrate at the Aligarh court had rejected the plea in October 2020. Rehman then filed a revision plea in the trial court, which was also dismissed.

After this, he challenged the trial court orders in the Allahabad High Court.

He argued that the trial courts had illegally rejected his pleas and submitted there was a clear case to prosecute Shah under sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Additional Advocate General Manish Goyal, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, contended that no cognisable offence can be made out against Shah in the case. He also submitted that an election manifesto does not come within the ambit of any law.

The High Court accepted the advocate general’s submissions and dismissed Rehman’s petition.