New Delhi: In a major ruling aimed at upholding the independence of the Election Commission, the Supreme Court on Friday said that no person serving the government could be appointed as Election Commissioner as they have to be independent and act independently.
A bench comprising Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Hrishikesh Roy said that the independence of the Election Commission cannot be compromised at any cost in a democracy and that giving additional charge of the State Election Commission to a government official is mockery of the Constitution.
The top court gave a direction to all states to comply with the constitutional scheme of independent SEC if they are in default.
The strong observation from the court came as it took dim view of the Goa government for giving additional charge of State Election Commissioner to a secretary serving under it.
Describing it a “disturbing feature” that an officer serving under the Goa government was given an additional charge as State Election Commissioner, the court noted that this officer attempted to overreach the High Court in the holding elections to panchayats in the state.
The court directed the SEC to issue notification for panchayat polls in Goa within 10 days and complete the election process by April 30.
The top court judgment came on an appeal against an order of the Bombay High Court which had set aside the election notification issued by the Goa SEC in the municipalities of Margao, Mapusa, Mormugao, Sanguem and Quepem.