The Karnataka High Court ordered on Tuesday that free food could be distributed and served in hotels following the Karnataka Assembly elections on Wednesday.
The court has permitted hotels to serve food in order to encourage voting. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had prohibited serving of free food on election day after voting as many hotels came up with the offer.
The State Election Commission had also warned hotels of strict action on this count. However, the Hotel Owners’ Association and the owners of Nisarga Grand Hotel in Bengaluru had challenged the order and approached the high court. The high court, after admitting the petition, has quashed the orders in this regard by the BBMP and the State Election Commission.
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Senior counsel Satish Bhat, who appeared for the Hotel Owners’ Association and the Nisarga Grand Hotel, submitted before the court that the hotels have come up with the offer to create awareness among the voters.
It would have been a lure if the food was to be offered before voting, the court noted. The food will be served only after checking the black ink mark on the fingers of the voters. Considering this argument, the court permitted serving of food.
Krishnaraja S.P., the owner of Nisarga Grand Hotel, welcomed the decision.
“Free food and cold drink are served to the voters after polling at the hotel to create awareness among the electorate,” Krishnaraja said.
Nisarga Grand Hotel will offer butter dosa, Mysuru pak (sweet dish) and cold drinks to the people after voting. Free cinema tickets will also be offered to 100 first-time voters, he said.
Many hotels across the state have made similar offers.
(With inputs from IANS)