New Delhi, Mar 12 (ILNS) Stating that the independence of the Election Commission cannot be compromised in a democracy, the Supreme Court on Friday observed that entrusting the additional charge of a State Election Commission to a government official was a mockery of the Constitution.
The Bench of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, B R Gavai and Hrishikesh Roy gave the directions on an appeal filed by the Goa government against the Bombay High Court order of March 1, which had issued a stay on certain municipal election notifications issued by the Goa State Election Commission.
Upholding the High Court order, the apex court directed the Goa Election Commission to issue notification for the panchayat polls within 10 days and complete the election process by April 30.
The bench held that the State Election Commissioners have to be independent persons and none of the states can appoint a person, who holds any other office with the government.
Justice Nariman said that it was a disturbing trait that a government servant, while being in employment with the government, was given charge of the Election Commission in Goa. An officer of the government attempted to overrule the High Court decision on holding panchayat polls in Goa, he observed.
The Goa bench of the High Court had, on March 1, set aside a notification issued by the Urban Development Ministry, stalling polls in municipal councils of Margao, Mormugao, Mapusa, Sanguem and Quepem.
The elections to 11 civic bodies in Goa are scheduled to be held on March 20 and at least 2.5 lakh people are eligible to vote in these polls.
Last week, the Supreme Court had ordered to stay the verdict of the High Court’s Goa bench, which had set aside the notification of the state Urban Development ministry on reservation of wards in five municipal councils. ILNS/SNG/JR