Public Administration Mains 2018 : Model Question and Answer - 83

(Public Administration Paper I / Chapter: Accountability and Control)

(Current Based) Question: The excesses of the executive will be checked by the judiciary. Comment. (20 Marks/300 Words)

Model Answer:

The Delhi High Court’s recent verdict setting aside the Election Commission’s order disqualifying 20 AAP MLAs restores faith in the fact that the excesses of the executive will still be checked by the judiciary, and our Constitutional safeguards against dictatorial rule are still in place.

The circumstances under which the EC had given its opinion to the President are worth remembering: Unsurprisingly, he could not meet the AAP delegation. Within 24 hours of receiving the opinion, the President read the 132-page document, applied his mind on it and signed the order of disqualification on Sunday.

The verdict may have named just the EC, but the real indictment is the current dispensation that appointed a terribly biased set of Election Commissioners to begin with and followed that up by advising the President to sign. It is a matter of shame that a Presidential order had to be set aside by the High Court.

While the decision does give us reason to celebrate, the Court’s observations on the EC have cast a shadow of doubt over the impartiality of the body. The High Court has unequivocally called out the EC for its ‘failure to comply with principles of natural justice’.

The EC was not merely incorrect in its interpretation of the law on office of profit, but wilfully denied the MLAs an opportunity to defend themselves in the case. In effect, this means that the actions of the EC were patently mala fide. It is a worrying sign for our democracy that the body that is mandated to ensure free and fair elections has been found guilty of denying voters the elected representatives of their choice. (Total Words- 275)

Valuable inputs from The Indian Express Opinion: ‘Election Commission’s action to disqualify AAP MLAs was patently malafide’ by Atishi Marlena

(Linkages: Executive and Judiciary, Office of Profit and Election Commission, High Court and Election Commission)

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