SC on Freebies

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    In Context

    • Recently the Supreme Court refused to consider the question of derecognising political parties that resort to freebies.

    More about the news

    • Issue:
      • The apex court was considering the question of reining in the practice of political parties offering “irrational freebies” to the electorate if they are voted to power, especially in states which are already drowning in debt.
    • Supreme Court’s stand:
      • Court acknowledged that the impact of freebies promised by political parties on the country’s fiscal health was “a serious issue”.
      • But derecognising political parties that resort to freebies would be  “anti-democratic”.
    • The Supreme court said ‘freebies’ are different from the welfare schemes of the government.
      • One leads to sheer loss to the national economy while the other feeds the poor in distress.
        • Chief Justice Ramana said the court is striving for a balance between 
          • The welfare requirements of the people, especially the poor and the downtrodden, and 
          • The need to avert a national economic loss through the unbridled distribution of largesse by political parties to hold on to power.
    • Committee by Centre:
      • The Centre is suggested for composition of a committee that can go into the issue
      • The Centre said that the proposed committee may comprise:
        • A member of a national taxpayers’ association or a retired Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), 
        • The Union Finance Secretary, finance secretaries of all states, 
        • A representative from every recognised national political party, 
        • The chairman of the 15th Finance Commission, 
        • An RBI representative, the NITI Aayog CEO, 
        • A representative nominated by the Chief Election Commissioner, 
        • FICCI or CII representatives and those from “stressed sectors”.

    Source: TH