New Delhi: On Wednesday Election Commission said that it cannot accept the demand to ban politicians convicted of a crime from contesting polls, prompting the Supreme Court to criticize the poll panel for shying away from the issue.
“Is silence an option for you? You must say either yes or no. How can you be silent? If you are constrained please let us know,” a bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the EC counsel, whose submission was a departure from the stand the commission took in its affidavit.
In response to a public interest litigation, the EC had in April filed an affidavit in which it supported the petitioner’s plea. The affidavit said the panel supported the cause of the petitioner to decriminalise politics.
When the court asked the commission’s lawyer about the EC’s position, he replied, “The commission is not taking an adversarial stand. We feel the issue (debarring convicted politicians) is in the legislative domain and we have no stand.”
“If you feel constrained by the legislature then let us know,” the top court bench shot back at the counsel.
The Centre has already made its stand clear on the issue by opposing the petition.
In its affidavit in April it had said that the court should not pass orders on the issue as this is a matter best decided by the Parliament.
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