Summoning CEC, EC to PMO is outrageous

News: Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners were summoned by the PMO to attend a meeting with the Principal Secretary(PS) to the PM. This move has come under criticism, as the independent Election Commission of India(ECI) is a gift of the Constitution to the nation.

Must ReadIndependence of EC is reducing – Explained, pointwise
Why the summoning is a cause of concern?

The PMO summoning or “inviting” not just the CEC but the full bench is in violation of the Constitution, irrespective of how important or urgent the issue is.

Also, The CEC is very high in the warrant of precedence (9th), while the PS to PM is 23rd. So, summoning a high constitutional functionary to attend a meeting is in a violation of the spirit of the Constitution.

Read here: CEC’s, EC’s interaction with the PMO-Why this raises questions and breaches a red line
How Election Commission has evolved in India?

The institutions undergo constant evolution. EC was made a formidable body under TN Seshan in the 90s. He upheld the rules, including the model code of conduct.

The equilibrium does not remain the same and in the last few years, the government mount pressure on unelected bodies. The decisions of EC has also faced a few challenges like delay in announcing the election schedule in Gujarat in 2017, its evasiveness in banning campaign activity amid the second Covid surge in West Bengal.

Read here: The Issue of Public trust on ECI |Election Commission
What should be the way forward?

EC should shed its image of not upholding the rules and norms. It should ask the law ministry to submit its replies on record. Government should also recognize that undermining EC can weaken the system.

Source: This post is based on the following articles:

By not standing up to a virtual summons from government, Election Commission undermines itself” published in the Indian Express on 18th December 2021.

Summoning CEC, EC to PMO is outrageous” published in the Indian Express on 18th December 2021.

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