The Supreme Court, on Monday, directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to not appoint officers who have disciplinary proceedings against them at key posts in the upcoming Assembly elections in Gujarat.
The Bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud took note of the submissions made by Attorney General K.K. Venugopal that the ECI has already issued appropriate guidelines in this respect.
It then observed, "Having heard Mr. K.K. Venugopal, we direct that the Election Commission of India shall not post any officer/official against whom the disciplinary proceedings has been initiated in any key position in any district."
The Court, however, refused to permit installation of CCTV cameras outside polling booths, opining that the same was not permissible.
Besides, it accepted the ECI's submission that guidelines for counting of VVPAT paper trails have already been formulated. While the submission was disputed by Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal and Senior Advocate Vivek Tankha, who were appearing for the Petitioner, the Court chose not to delve into the subject, observing, "We leave it to the discretion of the Election Commission of India, as we are not inclined to enter into the said arena."
The Court was hearing a Petition filed by All India Congress Committee (AICC) Secretary Prakash Joshi, who had sought several reforms ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections.
Mr. Joshi had suggested, inter alia, increasing the visibility time of VVPAT paper trail from 7 seconds to 13 seconds, making sure the paper trails are sealed in a box and preserved for at least 120 days, immediate recounting of votes if a candidate is not satisfied, and using high quality thermal printers and thermal papers at polling booths.