‘Mockery of Constitution’: Government official cannot be appointed as State Election Commissioner, rules Supreme Court

By: |
March 12, 2021 1:47 PM

The Supreme Court also directed all government employees who hold the additional charge of state election commissioners across the country to step down immediately.

Yet, the application of the law has been, more often than not, atavistic—reflecting the colonial-era mindset to control political expression and curb dissent. Yet, the application of the law has been, more often than not, atavistic—reflecting the colonial-era mindset to control political expression and curb dissent.

The Supreme Court today came down hard on the Goa government’s decision of giving an additional charge of State Election Commissioner to the state’s Law Secretary and said that entrusting additional charge of SEC to a government official amounts to a “mockery of the Constitution”. The court ordered the state government to appoint an independent election commissioner.

The top court also directed all government employees who hold the additional charge of state election commissioners across the country to step down immediately.

A bench comprising Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, B R Gavai and Hrishikesh Roy was hearing an appeal by the Goa government against the Bombay High Court order staying municipal election notifications issued by the Goa State Election Commission.

Upholding the Bombay High Court order, the apex court directed the state government to notify reservations for the municipal bodies like Mormugao, Margao, Mapusa, Quepem and Sanguem within the next 10 days. The court also ordered the State Election Commission to complete the municipal election process by April 30.

Reacting to the apex court verdict, Opposition leader Vijai Sardesai said that Sawant brought disgrace to the state. “The highest court of the land has crushed @DrPramodPSawant’s blatant attempt to violate our Constitution and derail Democracy; he’s brought disgrace not only to #Goa but also to his own leader @narendramodi who had bowed before the Constitution before taking office in 2019,” said Sawant in a tweet.

Sardesai demanded Sawant’s resignation. “The pat on the back @DrPramodPSawant expected has come as a slap on the face. @goacm is now a certified cheat. He defied the Indian #Constitution and strangled democracy; and got caught. It’s no more about resigning as @goacm, he has no moral right to remain in public life,” said Sawant.

The Goa CM was expecting a decision in his government’s favour as the apex court had stayed the High Court verdict setting aside the notification on reservation of wards in five municipal councils. Sawant had tweeted, “Hon. Supreme Court has stayed the High Court’s order cancelling elections to five municipalities and consequent order of the State Election Commission keeping the election process in abeyance. Matter to come up for final hearing on Tuesday. Now, the democratic process has been restored!”

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