An activist has asked the Ombudsman to seek a Constitutional Court ruling on the legality of the government's plan to borrow 500 billion baht to fund its election-policy digital wallet handout.
The move by persistent petitioner Srisuwan Janya came after Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said the governor of the central bank had recommended financing the scheme by borrowing the money, and the government would legislate the loan.
Mr Srisuwan filed his request for a judicial ruling with the Office of the Ombudsman on Monday.
He said he was responding to the prime minister's announcement last week that the government planned legislation to allow it to borrow 500 billion baht to fund the 10,000-baht digital money handout for 50 million Thais aged 16 years or more.
Mr Srisuwan said that the constitution and the State Fiscal and Financial Disciplines Act prohibited the government from passing a law for any borrowing for political gain, or for any non-urgent issue. The digital wallet scheme was a campaign policy of Mr Srettha's Pheu Thai Party.
He had asked the Ombudsman to seek a ruling from the Constitutional Court on the legality of using government authority for political gain at the cost of the nation's finances.
He said not all Thais would receive the handout, but everyone would have to bear the cost through the repayment of the government's planned borrowing.
Prime Minister Srettha said on his way to San Francisco late Sunday night that he was confident the coalition parties, with 320 votes in the House, would ensure the passage of the loan legislation.
According to the prime minister, the country needs the digital handout to stimulate the economy, which had grown only 1.9% annually over the past decade. Without substantial economic growth, the country could not attract foreign investment, he said.
Mr Srettha also said that the governor of the Bank of Thailand had recommended the government borrow to fund the digital wallet scheme.