The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the response of the Election Commission of India (ECI) on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition seeking directions to curb excessive poll spending by political parties and candidates [Prabhakar Deshpande vs Union of India and ors]..A Bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and BV Nagarathna issued the notice on the PIL filed by one Prabhakar Deshpande through advocate Arup Banerjee.The plea sought directions to the ECI come up with a comprehensive action plan to curb excess election expenditure with stringent and effective provisions for action against erring candidates and political parties. ."Three Ms., namely Money, Muscle and Mind has put Indian Democracy in a quagmire. As per Section 90 of the Conduct of Election Rule, 1961 the maximum amount that can be spent by/for a candidate in a lok Sabha Election is 90 Lakhs for bigger states and 54 Lakhs in smaller states. Candidates cannot spend as much as they want in elections and the E.C.I. has a ceiling to keep the election maladies in control to sustain the democracy in good stead but there appears to be a rockslide of money which is hazardously obstructing free and fair election" the petition said.It relied on a report by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS) which said that ₹60,000 crore was spent on the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.The petitioner claimed that the poll body has not acted on those spending above the poll limits and remained a paper tiger."If this [CMS] report is false, why are political parties not taking legal action against Centre for Media Studies, Delhi for defamation. This proves that the report is true," the petition stated.Terming such electoral malpractices a crime against the nation, the petition said that to expect those elected through the same to prosecute those responsible would be 'naive and unrealistic'.