The apex court was hearing a plea against the practice of political parties promising freebies during elections.
The SC bench, headed by CJI N V Ramana, said the panel is required to determine the the pros and cons of freebies as these have a “significant impact on the economy”. The proposed entity would examine how to regulate freebies and submit report to the Centre, the Election Commission (EC), and the SC.
The court asked the Centre, the EC, senior advocate and Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal, and the petitioners to submit their suggestions within seven days on the composition of the expert body.
SG Tushar Mehta, meanwhile, said “mindless” freebies would India to a “economic disaster”.
As the top court said such a situation has arisen due to “inaction” of the EC, the poll body said that its hands were tied by a judgment of the court on freebies. In its response, the three-judge bench said if necessary, it would reconsider the said judgment.
However, as Sibal said in the court that it should be left to Parliament to debate and pass a law in the matter, CJI Ramana pointed out no political party would stand against freebies.
“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,” CJI Ramana said.