(Public Administration Paper I / Chapter: Accountability
(Current Based) Question:
The excesses of the executive will be checked by the judiciary. Comment. (20
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
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)