CEC Never thought of deferring assembly polls due to Covid
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In his first interview, chief election commissioner Sushil Chandra mentioned the sturdy turnout within the meeting polls was a vote of confidence within the EC. He additionally spoke about distinction of opinions with EC Rajiv Kumar to TOI’s Bharti Jain. Excerpts:
It was said by election commissioner Rajiv Kumar within the draft affidavit which was not filed in Madras HC that the EC had thought-about deferring the latest polls in view of the Covid surge. At what stage was this thought-about?
At no level of time within the fee was there any considered deferring the elections. Only a request was obtained for clubbing the final two phases, and at the moment, the EC had mentioned numerous penalties of doing so. Considering the logistics of manpower and central forces’ deployment which is set a lot upfront, it was not thought-about essential to membership the final two phases.
Did the EC at the very least take into account deferring the previous couple of phases when Congress requested this in view of Ramzan? Was there such a suggestion from any EC member?
Ramzan, like all festivals and holidays, was thought-about earlier than planning the elections. Nobody within the EC expressed any view with regard to deferring of polls.
Why was election commissioner Rajiv Kumar’s separate affidavit providing to take private accountability if Madras HC didn’t withdraw its ‘murder’ comment,not filed by EC?
The affidavit and miscellaneous software (MA) earlier than Madras HC and later the SLP within the Supreme Court have been accepted by each the commissioners, or principally, the EC. He (Kumar) had very clearly talked about that he was completely positive with the draft MA and gave his go forward. Similarly, SLP was additionally accepted by him. So the paperwork that have been filed within the courtroom had approval of the fee.
The affidavit (drafted by Kumar) is a separate situation. That was mentioned with the counsel earlier than going to Madras HC and he had opined that just one affidavit might be filed on behalf of the fee. In an SLP, there isn’t any query of submitting affidavit. If in any respect there are any variations in an organisation, issues are selected the idea of precedents, guidelines and judicial pronouncements. There are procedures within the fee to deal with most of these conditions.
There seems to be an impression that the view of 50% of the EC, provided that it presently has solely two members, went unheard?
All views of the election commissioner have been included and that’s the reason he accepted the miscellaneous software and SLP. Actually, each EC members have been on the identical web page in that the oral observations of the Madras HC CJ have to be withdrawn. The SC has now given a judgment in our favour. The courtroom was clear that the remarks of the HC have been harsh and inappropriate. It additionally didn’t attribute any culpability of the pandemic to the EC.
Considering the alleged strain on the Nandigram returning officer after he rejected a recount demanded by the TMC agent, is EC considering of giving some post-poll safety to ROs on the whole?
Election-related officers usually face the wrath of the brand new authorities within the postelection part. The EC is worried about this. Last 12 months, the fee directed the chief secretaries to not provoke disciplinary proceedings towards senior officers within the CEO workplace as much as one 12 months from expiry of their tenure. EC will additional deliberate to make sure that its discipline officers, together with returning officers, should not focused for performing their statutory duties in a good and impartial method. An identical one-year bar (on disciplinary motion) for returning officers could also be mentioned.
How does the EC charge itself on conduct of latest polls?
The elections have been accomplished peacefully with 82.2% voters in West Bengal, 82.three% in Assam, 83.four% in Puducherry, 74.5% in Kerala and 73.6% in Tamil Nadu exercising their franchise. Successful democratic transition inside the prescribed timeframe, regardless of the pandemic state of affairs, is an achievement.
Do you assume the 2020 Covid tips of EC have to be revisited?
The tips labored properly for Bihar polls. When the newest elections have been introduced in February, Covid state of affairs had considerably improved. There was no indication from the well being authorities or consultants that a second part of the pandemic was on its means. However, the fee didn’t ease its protocol. During the previous couple of phases, because the Covid state of affairs intensified, EC responded by revising its directions. But EC is totally open to reform.
Have the assaults towards EC by politicians over its impartiality and equity affected its credibility as an establishment?
Credibility of an establishment comes from the belief reposed by voters. With excessive voter turnout regardless of Covid, it’s doubtless one other mark of religion after profitable Bihar elections in 2020. All stakeholders accepted the consequence. The credibility of the establishment of EC is as sturdy as ever.


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