ECI shows partiality to ruling party: plea

Kerala-based man recounts events to contend that ECI was ‘not immune from meddling by ruling party’

Published - June 23, 2021 10:59 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A plea in the Supreme Court has said the Election Commission of India was showing “partiality” to the ruling party. A Kerala-based man recounted recent events to contend that the poll body was “not immune from meddling by the ruling party”.

“On several occasions, the ECI has been accused of not responding adequately against the Model Code of Conduct violations by the ruling party,” K. Sathyan, a native of Kannur, represented by advocates Kaleeswaram Raj, Thulasi K. Raj and Nishe Rajen Shonker, submitted.

Mr. Sathyan asked the court to allow him to intervene in a petition filed by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, to constitute an independent collegium to appoint Election Commissioners.

“In recent times, this nexus between the ruling party and the Election Commission has become more and more clear. For example, a ruling party member, while campaigning for the Assam State elections in 2021, threatened an opposition party chief with jail. The ECI issued a 48-hour campaign bar, but in a rare instance, reduced it to 24 hours after he issued an apology,” the intervention application said.

However, in another “comparable instance” the same year, a similar ban on an Opposition party leader in Tamil Nadu was not relaxed by the ECI despite an apology, the plea said.

The ADR petition said government appointments to the poll body was a violation of the Basic Structure of the Constitution and created a dent on free and fair elections in a democracy. “The appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners is done solely by the Executive. Election Commission should be insulated from political and/or Executive interference,” the petition said.

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