NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court docket on Monday sympathised with the Election Fee‘s harm over Madras Excessive Court docket‘s searing “EC ought to face homicide prices” remark however stated HC judges should be at liberty to place bitter inquiries to the authorities to elicit correct responses whereas coping with citizen-centric litigation.
The HC’s observations had been made on April 26 and 30 in the course of the listening to of a PIL alleging non-observance of Covid-19 norms in the course of the just-held polls, and that it may endanger the lives of lakhs of individuals. The EC sought erasure of the observations and stated uncalled for and non-contextual remarks by a constitutional courtroom in opposition to a constitutional physique entrusted with conducting free and truthful elections, with out giving it a chance to clarify, weren’t solely in unhealthy style however had additionally demoralised officers.
For the EC, senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi stated the HC stated all kinds of issues in opposition to the fee in a collection of “out of context remarks” with out giving it a chance to clarify. “If the PM or a CM holds a rally and two lakh folks collect, what can the EC do? Police and CRPF aren’t in EC’s administrative management. EC’s function stays confined to finishing up free and truthful elections and managing associated officers. Dignity of the EC and its officers must be protected. When the HC says EC and its officers should face felony proceedings and FIRs ought to get registered, what treatment may the officers have?” Dwivedi requested.
A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah stated HCs performed an necessary function in defending the elemental rights of individuals and had a wider jurisdiction than even the SC. “We perceive the standpoint of the EC and its harm emotions. However we have now to guard the sanctity of HCs and the judicial technique of scrutiny. HC judges ought to have the freedom to ask questions and never really feel restrained whereas coping with issues referring to public curiosity,” the bench stated.
Explaining the method of scrutiny in constitutional courts, Justice Chandrachud stated, “I might not have made such a comment (as was executed by Madras HC). Ordinarily, we’re cautious to not say something in the course of the listening to which is inappropriate for inclusion within the order.” Justice Shah stated, “In adjudication of points referring to public curiosity, there may be at all times a human ingredient that’s concerned and judges mirror the general public sentiment whereas asking inquiries to the authorities. Deal with the Madras HC observations like a bitter capsule, which a physician offers to sufferers for quick restoration.”
The bench additional stated, “We perceive why EC felt pained. However for the EC to say that the HC was making an attempt to overwhelm it or making an attempt to demean it is not going to be appropriate. Parliament is the sovereign physique of representatives for India. But, the Supreme Court docket can look at the validity of legal guidelines enacted by the sovereign physique and strike them down. That doesn’t make the Supreme Court docket extra highly effective than Parliament. So, it is going to be fully unacceptable if the EC says it’s not amenable to judicial scrutiny.”
It stated judges, in discharge of their constitutionally mandated activity, need to ask uncomfortable questions with the only objective of eliciting higher responses and invigorate the chief to discharge its duties.
The bench added that the EC’s SLP stated it was an impartial constitutional physique and the HC was an impartial constitutional authority and that each mustn’t tread on each other’s jurisdiction. The bench urged to the EC to not undertake a “contact me not” strategy however promised to strike a steadiness between the roles of the EC and the HC within the context of the difficulty arising from the observations made by Madras HC.
Recognising the service rendered by the EC, the bench stated, “Within the final 70 years, the EC has given free and truthful elections, which is the essence of democracy. EC is a vital pillar of democratic arrange in India.” The bench reserved its order and indicated that it might be pronounced on Thursday.