SC postpones hearing on Union Budget presentation to Jan 23

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Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court on January 20 postponed hearing on a petition seeking presentation of Union Budget be pushed ahead in the wake of coming assembly polls to five states, to January 23.

Petitioner advocate ML Sharma was willing to argue the matter on January 23. The plea also stated that the Centre be directed to present the Union Budget from April 1, 2017, instead of proposed February 1.

It also said the Centre be checked from violating the code of conduct and, what’s more, it should not announce any relief, programme, financial budget until the polls are over.

The EC had on January 4 come out with the schedule of Assembly polls in five states, including UP. The next day, the Centre decided to convene the Budget session from January 31 to present the Budget for 2017-18 fiscal.

Meanwhile, the EC sought the cabinet secretariat details when the Union Budget was delayed in 2012 due to assembly polls. In this regard, it has asked the government to file its reply by January 20.

It may be noted when the opposition objected to Budget presentation in 2012 in view of assembly polls in UP, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa, the previous UPA government had put off the exercise from February 28 to March 16.

Parliament is to meet on January 31, while Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the Union Budget on February 1.

By bringing forward the Union Budget presentation date, the government stated that it would ensure fiscal cycle of allocations and expenditures begin and are done with before the Monsoon Session.