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SC: Need Expert Body for Regulation of Freebies by Political Parties During Polls

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Supreme Court Advocates LAW INSIDER

Priya Gour

Published on: 3rd August, 2022 at 19:40 IST

The Supreme Court while hearing a plea against promises made by political parties during elections, said that there is an urgent need of an authority to tackle the issue. Suggestions for controlling the menace of ‘Freebies’ are need of the hour.

It suggested a Regulatory Authority for the same that would comprise members from RBI, Finance Commission, ruling and opposition parties, along with others.

About the issue:

A plea was filed before the apex court regarding the use of freebies in the form of unassured promises which are made by the political parties during election campaign. The plea requested for certain steps to be taken to have some measure of control on such freebies.

Answering the plea, the Court agreed to the need of a regulating authority for giving suggestions in the matter. The Court also directed the petitioner to submit response within 7 days of the aforementioned body being constituted. It quoted:

Such a situation has arisen due to “inaction” of the EC.”

The Election Commission of India submitted that its hands were tied by a judgment of the court on freebies. With respect to this, the court gave an assurance of re consideration of the past judgment.

Also on Advocate Kapil Sibal’s submission that the matter be left to the parliament, the Bench headed by CJI NV Ramana said:

Do you think Parliament will debate issue of freebies? Which political party will debate? No political party would oppose freebies. Each wants it. We must think about the tax payers and the country’s economy.”

Hence, the respondent’s submissions were rejected by the Court.