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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 13 March, 2021

  • 8 Min Read

Bureaucrats cannot be State Election Commissioners: SC

Bureaucrats cannot be State Election Commissioners: SC

  • The Supreme Court on Friday held that independent persons and not bureaucrats should be appointed State Election Commissioners.
  • The top court directed that the States should appoint independent persons as Election Commissioners all along the length and breadth of the country.

‘Give up post’

  • It said government employees holding the post of State Election Commissioners as additional charge should give up the post.
  • The Supreme Court said its direction should be followed strictly.
  • The independence of Election Commissions cannot be compromised at any cost, the Bench said, adding that it was “disturbing” to see government employees manning State Election Commissions as an add-on job.
  • The judgment criticised the Goa government for giving its Law Secretary the additional charge of State Election Commissioner.
  • “Under the constitutional mandate, it is the duty of the State to not interfere with the functioning of the State Election Commission,” the Bench said.

Steps To Be Taken

1. The state governments need to follow the guidelines given by the Supreme Court in Kishan Singh Tomar vs Municipal Corporation of Ahmedabad case:

  • The provisions of Article 243K of the Constitution, which provides for setting up of SECs, are almost identical to those of Article 324 related to the ECI.
  • Also, the state governments should abide by orders of the SECs during the conduct of the panchayat and municipal elections, just like they follow the instructions of the EC during Assembly and Parliament polls.

2. 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission Recommendation

  • The State Election Commissioner should be appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of a collegium, comprising the Chief Minister, the Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly and the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly.
  • An institutional mechanism should be created to bring the Election Commission of India and the SECs on a common platform for coordination, learning from each other’s experiences and sharing of resources.

3. Law Commission 255th Report on Electoral Reforms

  • It recommended, to add a new sub-clause to Article 324 of the Constitution to provide for a separate independent and permanent Secretariat for the ECI along the lines of the Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha Secretariats under Article 98 of the Constitution.
  • Similar provisions can also be made for the State Election Commissions to ensure autonomy, and free and fair local body election.

Source: TH


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