Election Commissioner O P Rawat has recused himself from cases related to the Aam Aadmi Party the Election Commission is hearing after Delhi Chief Minister and party leader Arvind Kejriwal questioned his independence. “He had questioned the independence of the Election Commission. It is a quasi-judicial body which delivers verdicts. Therefore, I have recused myself so that he can have faith in the independence of the institution,” Rawat said.
He said Kejriwal, the AAP and the people of the country should have full faith in the independence of the Commission. “I thought it was the right thing to do,” he said. Rawat had decided to recuse himself from the case related to 21 AAP MLAs for allegedly holding office of profit. They face the possibility of disqualification.
Another case relates to 27 AAP MLAs for allegedly holding office of profit. While the first case is at an advance stage of hearing, the second case is at its preliminary stage. In an interview, Kejriwal had reportedly said he does not believe in the independence of two Commissioners, including
Rawat because he comes from Madhya Pradesh and has been very close to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan.
An IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre, he retired from service in December, 2014. The Commission is likely to come out with a reply to the allegations levelled by Kejriwal against two of its commissioners.