After a show-cause from the Election Commission for “violating the model code of conduct” in Uttar Pradesh, Union Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid has again landed himself in a controversy with it.
This time, the EC is writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh taking strong exception to Mr. Khurshid's comment that the Commission came under the administrative control of the Law Ministry.
“This letter by Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi, which is drafted but yet to be sent, has nothing to do with the ongoing election process and we just wanted to stress the independence and autonomous stature of our constitutional body,” a senior EC official told The Hindu on Thursday. He described the Minister's comment as “wishful thinking.”
In a recent interview to a private TV channel, Mr. Khurshid reportedly said the Centre possessed some sort of administrative control over the EC and cited the example of the Law Ministry signing crucial documents when one of its Commissioners went abroad for a vacation. Mr. Khurshid was referring to Team Anna's reservations about the Centre gaining some sort of control over the CBI under the new Lokpal Bill that was passed by the Lok Sabha.
“If the Law Ministry thinks it can control the Commission through foreign tours, it is sadly mistaken,” the EC official said, adding the “Law Ministry serves just like a post-office ... only the President approves EC foreign tours,” he said.