Give us contempt powers to act against those out to sully our image: EC to Govt

The Commission, The Indian Express has learnt, has sought amendments to the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, to empower it to punish anyone being disobedient or discourteous towards its authority.

Written by Ritika Chopra | New Delhi | Updated: June 12, 2017 7:57 am
Election Commission, law ministry, EC allegations, Election Commission allegations, elections 2017, elections 2019, contempt of court, indian express news, india news In its letter, the EC has cited examples of its counterparts abroad, including ECP, which can initiate contempt proceedings against anyone sullying its image.

The Election Commission (EC) has written to the Law Ministry, seeking powers to act against those questioning the poll panel’s credibility through unfounded allegations.

The Commission, The Indian Express has learnt, has sought amendments to the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, to empower it to punish anyone being disobedient or discourteous towards its authority. The letter was written over a month ago and the matter is currently under consideration with the Law Ministry.

In its letter, the EC has cited examples of its counterparts abroad, including the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which can initiate contempt proceedings against anyone sullying its image. This year, for instance, the ECP issued a contempt notice to cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan for accusing the election body of bias in a case of foreign funding. The case is still being heard by the ECP.

The demand, made by the EC by virtue of being a constitutional authority, is significant against the backdrop of political parties, especially Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), accusing the panel of playing favourites. The Commission, currently, has no specific powers to act in such cases.

Matters came to a head recently when Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal questioned election commissioners A K Joti and O P Rawat’s impartiality in a media interview, prompting the latter to recuse himself from all AAP-related matters in future. The unprecedented decision, Rawat said, was imperative to protect the credibility of the Commission.

Kejriwal, in an interview, had alleged that two of the three election commissioners were close to the ruling dispensation. He was answering a question related to the office-of-profit case being heard by the EC against 21 AAP MLAs. “One of the election commissioners, A K Joti, was chief secretary of Gujarat under (Narendra) Modiji. The second election commissioner has come from Madhya Pradesh and has been very close to Shivraj Singh Chouhan. So, independence of both these election commissioners is under question,” he was quoted as saying.

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    Binoy Hoskote
    Jun 13, 2017 at 11:12 am
    EC ITSELF IS RESPONSIBLE FOR BUTT CRITICISM FOR ITS LUDICROUS ACCEPTANCE OF CHALLENGES BY AAP WITH COUNTER HACKATHON CHALLENGES WITH RIDICULOUS TERMS CONDITIONS OF NO ACCESS TO EVM...NO TOUCHING, OPENING, TAMPERING OF COMPONENTS ON THE MOTHERBOARD THE HEART OF THE SCOPE OF TAMPERING>>>THEY SEEK POWERS OF CONTEMPT LAW, WHILE THEY THEMSELVES HAVE BEEN IN CONTEMPT OF SC HC IN FOLLOWING TWO CASES - IN ONE OF THEM THEY HAVE EXHIBITED BIGOTRY AS WELL:->(1) THE SC HAS HEARD DR.SUBRAMANIAM SSWAMY CASE ON EVMs BEING TAMPERABLE AND UNRELIABLE>>>THE S C DECREED THAT EVMs BY THEMSELVES ARE UNRELIABLE AND TAMPERABLE, USE ONLY WITH VVPATs.>>NASIM ZAIDI IS IN TOTAL CONTEMPT OF COURT CONTINUEING TO INSIST EVMs TAMPER-PROOF AGAINST SCORES OF HOW-TO-HACK-VIDEO EVIDENCES 10 TOP NATIONS JUNKING EVMS SINCE DECADE "">(2) HC CLEARED BRIBE COMMENT OF KEJRIWAL AS NOT BAD IN LAW,WHICH EC ACCUSES F.I,.Rs HIM WHILE FM JAITLEY IS LETS OFF WITH WRITTEN WARNING-NO FIR BIGOTRY
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      Sreekumar Prabhakaran
      Jun 13, 2017 at 9:36 am
      That's a reasonable demand EC is making. And I don't see it happening anytime soon. Meanwhile, the government should encourage the EC officials to approach the court on a personal basis demanding monetary compensation for libel and/or slander as applicable.
      Reply
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        Edward Nixon
        Jun 12, 2017 at 3:39 pm
        wow, why dont the EC declare a supreme in this union of Indian states or India and try a rule. If India together that is because of the state leaders and its people or else union of Indian states is all gone
        Reply
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          Abdul
          Jun 12, 2017 at 2:38 pm
          Why EC cannot understand all these flake they are facing is due to EVM? EVM functions according to the software embedded in the motherboard. The people who wrote the software and those modifying according the cons uency will know the source code. If one knows the source code then it is childrens game to manipulate the result of an election. So the open hackaton should have been allowed to play with motherboard or providing source code. Just touching the keys of an EVM will not change the software program it requires tampering with motherboad OR the source code. In this case many people might be knowing the source code in election commission office as well as the company wrote it. The leakage can be possible from any places.
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            Mukundan Menon
            Jun 12, 2017 at 2:14 pm
            This indeed ais a legitimate demand by a Cons utional authority involved in the most important processes of our democracy particularly in the light of the silly and stupid arguments supported by high voltage media backing questioning the integrity of our Election Commission!
            Reply
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              Sushil Gupta
              Jun 12, 2017 at 1:55 pm
              It is shocking that AAP n Congress got elected through EVMs. They did not complain when they won. Tampering of EVM was an issue earlier also. I remember during UPA rule an Andhra based IITian who was protesting about it was arrested n nothing was heard about it anymore! If parties have a problem, let them approach the Supreme Court!!
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                Shekhar
                Jun 12, 2017 at 1:26 pm
                The govt. should and must give for what EC is requesting them to. No one should take granted and say what ever they feel like.
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                  Manu sharma
                  Jun 13, 2017 at 2:14 am
                  Hello Mr paidbhakt dis is democratic india not hitler shahi...understood
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                  MyTake
                  Jun 12, 2017 at 1:24 pm
                  Good step. Make them answerable.
                  Reply
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