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Congress and its Leaders Can't Tell us How to Conduct Polls: Election Commission to Supreme Court

Opposing a petition filed by Congress leader Kamal Nath, EC asserted that it is a Constitutional body that has to function in accordance with the rules and laws and not in tandem with the "instructions" of a political party.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:September 18, 2018, 5:23 PM IST
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Congress and its Leaders Can't Tell us How to Conduct Polls: Election Commission to Supreme Court
File photo of Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat.
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New Delhi: Election Commission of India has submitted in the Supreme Court that it is not obligated to conduct elections in the country in the manner desired by the Congress or its leaders.

Opposing a petition filed by Congress leader Kamal Nath, EC asserted that it is a Constitutional body that has to function in accordance with the rules and laws and not in tandem with the "instructions" of a political party.

"It is not within the jurisdiction or domain of the petitioner and/or his party/organization to question the measures taken by the Election Commission of India with regard to the aforementioned issues," stated the affidavit filed by EC.

It stated that Kamal Nath and "the political party to which he stands affiliated" cannot approach the Supreme Court time and again so as to re-agitate the same issue and interfere in the functioning of a Constitutional authority such as the Election Commission.

Kamal Nath and his party "cannot seek to instruct or direct the Election Commission of India to conduct elections (including implementation of VVPAT) in a particular manner," added EC.

It said Kamal Nath's petition is misconceived and malafide as he is seeking to instruct EC to conduct elections according to his personal whims and fancies and that of the political party to which he stands affiliated.

"EC cannot be compelled to accept all suggestions made by the Petitioner and the political party/organization to which he is affiliated," said the affidavit, requesting the court to dismiss the petition along with a monetary penalty.

It further said that EC is mindful of its role and duties, and has accordingly already issued all requisite instructions to ensure procurement and safety of EVMs, printing of VVPATs, mock testing of machines, deployment of officials etc.

"The apprehension of the petitioner about mass shortage is wholly misplaced, unjustified and unwarranted... allegation that VVPAT machines malfunction by casting votes in favour of one particular party is utterly false and fictitious, and is strenuously denied," said the affidavit.

It also submitted that these issues have already been deliberated upon by the apex court in a similar petition filed by another Congress leader from Gujarat and hence, there can be no justification by the party and its members to keep raking up the same issues before every assembly poll.

In the wake of the upcoming polls on Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath had moved the top court, issuing several directives for EC.
| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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