Division Bench order dated March 23, 2018 of Delhi High Court holding it unjustified on part of Election Commission to hurriedly disqualify 20 Delhi MLAs without giving them natural justice of personal hearing, adversely affects reputation of an autonomous body like Election Commission requiring perfect neutrality. Court-order also exposes yet other discrepancy in Election Commission order that the final order was signed by an Election Commissioner who did not even attend the hearing proceedings. It is indeed shocking and regretting that persons posted on highly responsible post of Election Commissioner do not have such an elementary legal knowledge that any order from Election Commission should be signed by the Commissioner having attended hearing-proceedings.
A Public-Interest-Litigation (PIL) was filed at Supreme Court in July 2015 seeking much-needed and long-awaited reform in selection of Election Commissioners by a collegium also consisting of Prime Minister and largest opposition party in Lok Sabha. Even the then Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi also publicly favoured such a system which already exists for selection of Information Commissioners and Vigilance Commissioners.
The post of Election Commissioner must be kept totally unbiased by adopting the collegium-system for selection of Election Commissioners. It is indeed unfortunate that eye-brows are often raised by the opposition-parties on selection of certain Election Commissioners being personal favourites of political rulers having appointed them. But the irony of Indian political system is that, instead of inducing reforms as demanded, political rulers themselves repeat same wrong doings like in case of selection of Election Commissioners.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)