Supreme Court to set up expert panel on freebies, blames Election Commission for laxity | India News

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to form a panel of experts with representatives from Niti Aayog, the Finance Committee, Election CommissionRBI and political parties to study the impact of free gifts on taxpayers and the economy, and recommend measures to regulate it.
After hearing countless suggestions, including to Parliament to debate and pass appropriate legislation, a bench of the Chief Justice NV Ramana and Judges Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli “We have to think about the taxpayers and the national economy. To what extent can the court regulate its constitutional limits? ”
The bench says, “Let an independent body of experts research the pressing issue, interact with stakeholders and the public, and produce a report containing specific recommendations. We can send proposals to the government and ask the government to take the necessary actions.”
SC has asked general counsel Tushar Mehta, EC advisor Amit Sharma, petitioner’s advisor Vikas Singh and Vijay Hansaria as well as senior campaigner Kapil Sibal to offer their recommendations on the composition of the panel of experts and a thorough monitoring of freebies within a week. It posted the matter for a hearing on August 11.
Invited by the court to make its independent motion, Sibal said, “The Electoral Commission is the most favored body and should avoid the issue of liberal bonuses, which are political and economic in nature. After thorough debate, Parliament can decide on the appropriate remedies”.
Benches led by CJI disagree. “Do you seriously think Parliament will debate regulating free software? Which political party will debate this issue? No political party agreed on limiting free gifts ahead of the polls. Every one of them wants it.”
Mehta said the country’s economy is headed for disaster because of mindless free publicity opportunists. He suggested that the SC could ask the EC to review the matter to propose remedies before the supervision of the court. However, EC lawyer Amit Sharma said the EC had its hands tied because of the 2013 verdict.
CJI Ramana said, “We are aware of the Subramaniam Balaji ruling and if necessary we will review it. But, if the EC had taken timely remedial measures, this problem would not have arisen”.
Plaintiff Ashwini Upadhyay’s advisor suggested drafting a model code of conduct by the EC as well as having financial experts examine the matter. “The model code of conduct is only in effect a few days before the election,” the bench said. However, political parties indulged in it for four years. There is nothing wrong with joining hands to help the poor and disadvantaged. But to what extent? ”

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