Parties promising to distribute freebies during election campaigns is a “Serious Issue” :

freebies in election campaigns

Today, the Supreme Court of India observed parties promising to distribute freebies during election campaigns are a “serious issue”.  The Court said that there is a need for a body to examine such issues and solve the economic problems.

A bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli said there is a need for the Supreme body, and further order NITI Aayog, Finance Commission, ruling and opposition parties, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and other stakeholders to make suggestions on how to control freebies by political parties.

“All stakeholders who want the freebies and who are opposing it, including RBI, NITI Aayog, opposition parties have to be involved in this process of making some constructive suggestion,” the bench said.

The top court also asked the Centre Government, Election Commission, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, and the petitioners to submit their suggestions on the composition of an expert body that will examine how to regulate freebies and submit a report to the court within seven days

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Central government. supported the petition against promises of freebies by political parties and said this way we are heading towards economic disaster.

“These populist promises have an adverse effect on voters. This is how we head towards economic disasters,” Mr Mehta said.

“Everybody feels the money paid as taxes is not paid for the purposes of developments etc. and thus everyone should use an independent forum and court should not be that forum. Every political party benefits from the freebies. I don’t want to name one,” CJI Ramana said.

The Supreme Court heard a plea seeking direction to seize election symbols and deregister political parties that promised to distribute irrational freebies from public funds. Last week court asked the central government to take a stand on the need to control the issue of political parties promising to distribute irrational freebies from public funds during elections campaigns.

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