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After AG Has "Difference Of Opinion", SC Seeks Centre's Affidavit In PIL Seeking Complete Autonomy For Election Commission

LiveLaw News Network
19 Feb 2018 7:05 AM GMT
After AG Has "Difference Of Opinion", SC Seeks Centre
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The Supreme Court today sought the stand of Centre on a PIL which sought complete autonomy for the Election Commission and altering the rules of removal of Election Commissioners.

The bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had on December 2 sought the assistance of Attorney General K K Venugopal on the issue.

At the outset of the hearing today the AG said "This is a PIL asking for Autonomy for election commission and on removal of ECs.I have certain difference of opinion so the Center's stand may be sought first"

Following this the bench ordered: "Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand may file a response on behalf of the Centre within four weeks"

The bench also allowed the election commission plea for permission to place some documents on record.

The PIL has been filed by advocate and Delhi BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking direction to the Centre to “take appropriate steps to confer rule making authority on the Election Commission of India on the lines of the rule making authority vested in the Supreme Supreme Court of India to empower it to make election related rules and code of conduct”.

To strengthen the independence of the election process and maintain its purity, he sought a new framework to empower the ECI to make rules after consultation with the government.

"Conferring the rule making power to the ECI is not only necessary to insulate it from Executive/Political pressure but also essential to ensure a free and fair election in spirit of Article 324 of the Constitution of India," the petition reads.

Upadhyay also prayed for direction to the Centre to provide independent secretariat to the Election Commission of India and declare its expenditure as charged on the consolidated fund of India on the lines of the Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha Secretariat.

“ECI cannot function independently until the CEC & ECs are protected similarly, its expenditure is charged as consolidated fund and has independent secretariat and rule making authority”, the petition said adding that various Committees and Commissions including the Goswami Committee, Election Commission and Law Commission (in 255th Report) have suggested in this regard but the Executive has not implemented those recommendations till date.

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