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Distribution of Freebies Inevitably Leads to Future Economic Disaster: Centre to SC

PTI

Last Updated: August 03, 2022, 18:46 IST

New Delhi, India

The SC on Wednesday asked all stakeholders, including the Centre, Niti Aayog, Finance Commission and the RBI to brainstorm the issue of freebies promised during elections. (File photo: PTI)

The SC on Wednesday asked all stakeholders, including the Centre, Niti Aayog, Finance Commission and the RBI to brainstorm the issue of freebies promised during elections. (File photo: PTI)

The fresh stand of the central government before a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana assumes significance as earlier it had said the issue of freebies needed to be dealt with by the Election Commission

Distribution of freebies inevitably leads to “future economic disaster", the Centre told the Supreme Court on Wednesday where it came out in full support of a PIL against the practice of political parties promising handouts during elections.

The fresh stand of the central government before a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana assumes significance as earlier it had said the issue of freebies needed to be dealt with by the Election Commission.

The poll panel, however, had put the onus on the government during the July 26 hearing. The bench on Wednesday asked all stakeholders, including the Centre, Niti Aayog, Finance Commission and the RBI to brainstorm the issue of freebies promised during elections and come out with constructive suggestions to deal with it.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said the government supported the PIL. Such populist promises have a severe adverse impact on the voters. Not only such freebies distribution inevitably leads to future economic disaster, the voters also cannot exercise their right to choose as an informed, wise decision, the government’s law officer said.

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Mehta said a common man will never realise while accepting such freebies that his right pocket is receiving something which is going to be taken away from his left pocket later. He said the poll panel must prevent the freebie culture not only to protect democracy but also to safeguard the economic sustenance of the country.

The counsel for the poll panel, however, said the apex court judgements bind it and hence it cannot act on the issue of freebies. The solicitor general opposed the suggestion by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who has been asked by the bench to assist it during the hearing, that the poll panel be kept out of this exercise.

The law officer said he would not like to undermine the sanctity of the Election Commission as a constitutional body. The top court, while listing the PIL of lawyer Ashwini Updhyay for further hearing on Thursday, said all stakeholders should think on the issue and give suggestions so it could set up a body to deal with the “serious" matter.

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first published:August 03, 2022, 18:46 IST
last updated:August 03, 2022, 18:46 IST