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SC calls for expert panel to regulate poll freebies

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday favoured constituting an expert committee that will deliberate, hold discussion with all the stakeholders and suggest measures to curb political parties promising freebies during elections to woo voters.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, also comprising Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Hima Kohli felt that all the stakeholders including the Niti Aayog, the Finance Commission as well as ruling, and Opposition parties must be on board.

The court asked all the parties including senior advocate Kapil Sibal, to give suggestions within seven days on the composition of the expert body and posted the matter for further hearing on August 11, 2022.

The SC asked senior advocate Kapil Sibal to assist the court with his inputs in the course of the hearing given his experience as a senior advocate and a senior parliamentarian. On CJI Ramana stating a situation has arisen due to “inaction” by the EC, the lawyer for the EC said its hands were tied by a judgment of the court on the freebies.

When Sibal urged the court to leave it to Parliament to pass a law on the matter, the CJI observed no political party would stand against the freebies. “Do you think Parliament will debate the issue? Which party will debate? None will oppose,” the CJI said.