Ethics: Political Manifestoes are considered to be the aspirations of people which the political bosses promise to fulfill after winning election. However, there is no accountability in case of false promise or failure to fulfill them. Analyze the moral issues involved in this case and suggest suitable measures to make our leaders accountable. (150 W/ 10 M)

Mentor’s Comment:

True politics is not bad, but when politics becomes dirty it will seriously effect the very institutions of democracy or any other type of political institutions.

The introduction should talk about the manifestoes and whether it is good practice of corrupt practice.

Further, the subsequent point should mention the situation of Model Code of Conduct and declaration of manifestoes, freebies and manifestoes etc.

Now, we need to analyze how these practices violate the ethical principles of trust, transparency, accountability, promise etc.

Next, we need to discuss the steps to make our political leaders accountable like making it punitive, or debarring the party from election etc. and talk how manifestoes can lead to developed society if fulfilled properly.

One can also suggest creation of laws regarding but will have to provide relevant points to support this point. However, we don’t need any new law as we already have MCC and Code of Ethics. Apart from these, we can also mention about the section 123 of RP Act.

Conclusion should be based on your points.


Model Answer:

  • Political manifestoes are a publication issued by a political party before any election. It contains the set of policies, ideologies, intensions, views etc. that the party stands for and would wish to implement if elected to govern.
  • An election manifesto serves several purposes in a modern day democracy like India. It helps highlight the potential of a party’s stint in government to undecided voters, whole spelling out the consensus agenda agreed to by the party’s diversity of ideological and regional special groups.

How false grandiose effects?

  • The push towards specific, headline-grabbing promises in party manifestoes is a recent trend globally and no country is immune to it. For example: US President Donald Trump’s call to “build a great, great wall on USA’s southern border” and to have “Mexico pay for the wall” has frozen NAFTA renegotiations while fuelling resentment. Even, UK, Australia, France, Germany etc. are not immune to it.
  • However, promising more than the practicality to fulfill is like cheating with the voters. It includes violation of voters’ rights, their faith, political leaders’ honesty, accountability and responsibility towards fulfillment of such goals.
  • The modern politics has crossed the limitation of promising which includes even false promise only to get elected for not more than political reasons. It’s like playing with the voters’ sentiments and more of breaking promises has become the tradition.

There is no accountability:

  • The fact is that manifestoes are perfectly legal, even if their promises are unrealistic and irresponsible. The EC had no power to question these.
  • The matter had gone to the Supreme Court which also found itself faced with a great dilemma. In its judgement of July 5, 2013, it accepted that the manifesto promises cannot be construed as “corrupt practices” under the Representation of the People Act though they do “influence” the people and “shake the roots of free and fair elections”.
  • In case of failure to fulfill, judicial options for ensuring compliance are limited – has been stated by SC in reply to a PIL saying its not the court’s job to consider a matter of unfulfilled promises.
  • The Model Code of Conduct drafted by the Election commission of India (ECI) in 2014 had given guidelines that prohibit parties from making promises in their manifestoes that would exert an undue influence on voters. However, the very fact is that the code is not enforceable by law leads to such guidelines being followed only in abeyance.

What needs to be done?

  • It is important for political parties to be made accountable for their promises by ensuring a legal responsibility for their fulfillment.
  • As recommended by the Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice in 2013, that the MCC should be made legally binding and made part of the RP Act 1951. This will add teeth to ECI’s powers, enabling it to deter political parties from making empty promises in manifestoes. There must be a cost to unfulfilled manifesto promises, aside from a chance of being voted out of power.
  • The Election Commission should issue separate guidelines for political parties to state the rationale for the promises in the manifestoes and the ways and means to meet the financial requirements for them. This should be made mandatory and should also be audited time to time.


  • The manifesto being a perfectly legal and legitimate democratic instrument, if the promises are unrealistic or absurd, it is more important for the rival parties to expose the deceit. Even if the common voters do not understand that the promises are un-implementable, they do remember what promises were made at the last election and have not been fulfilled. Voters are now seen to be constantly rewarding good governance and punishing non-delivery.
  • If democracy is a social contract between those elected and ordinary citizens, then manifestoes should be considered as a legal contract enshrining a country’s purported development agenda. For the health of India’s democracy, ensuring accountability for manifestoes remains a key reform to be pushed.