The Supreme Court on Wednesday called for the formation of an expert panel to oversee freebies distributed by political parties during elections.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said there is a need for an apex body consisting of members from the Niti Aayog, the Finance Commission, ruling and opposition parties, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and other stakeholders, to make suggestions on how to control freebies given by political parties during election campaigns.
The SC bench, headed by CJI NV Ramana, said the panel is required to determine the pros and cons of freebies as these have a “significant impact on the economy”. The proposed entity would examine how to regulate freebies and submit reports to the Centre, the Election Commission (EC), and the SC.
The court asked the Centre, the EC, senior advocate and Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal, and the petitioners to submit their suggestions within seven days on the composition of the expert body.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, meanwhile, said “mindless” freebies would lead India to an “economic disaster”.
As the top court said such a situation had arisen due to the “inaction” of the EC, the poll body said that its hands were tied by a judgement of the court on freebies. In its response, the three-judge bench said if necessary, it would reconsider the said judgment.