HC dismisses plea challenging appointment of Delhi Chief Secy as Election Commissioner

New Delhi [India], April 4 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed the petition challenging a notification appointing Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev as Election Commissioner in the Election Commission of NCT of Delhi for conducting the elections to Municipal Corporations of Delhi.

The Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla on Monday dismissed the plea after not being satisfied with the argument extended by Advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi, who appeared for the petitioner on the ground that the incumbent Chief Secretary does not hold two posts.

Earlier, the Delhi Government, in its reply had opposed the plea and sought dismissal of the petition. The reply filed by the Delhi Government said, “a conscious mala fide attempt has been made to create prejudice by giving a misleading and slanted version of the corrected factual and legal position.”

The appointment was made bona fide by the Lieutenant Governor, who is a competent authority, in accordance with the extant statutory procedure and the most eligible and suitable person was selected after consideration of all eligible candidates, the reply submitted.

It was also stated that the appointment does not fall foul of the judgement of the Supreme Court in Fouzia Imtiaz Shaikh case, in as much as the appointee will not be holding an additional charge and will cease to be a government servant prior to the date of which he assumes charge of the office of Election Commissioner.

It was further stated that the appointment is not in violation of Article of the Constitution. Therefore, it is submitted that the Court may dismiss the petition with heavy and exemplary cost, the reply read.

The Petition has sought direction from the Delhi Government to quash the withdrawal of the notification dated November 25, 2021, offered an appointment for the post of election commissioner of Municipal Corporation of Delhi to the working chief secretary Vijay Dev (IAS Officer) w.e.f. April 21, 2022.

The plea stated that the said notification is in violation to the rule of law and settled principles of appointment procedure of the public office as the same being motivated towards vested interest in order to affect the forthcoming scheduled election of Municipal Corporation of Delhi as well as in clear violation to the Article 243K of the Constitution of India which enshrined the appointment of independent election Commissioner as interpreted and laid down by Supreme Court of India.

Petitioner Dr Nand Kishore Garg, former BJP MLA through Advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi stated that the appointment is politically motivated as the Chief Secretary has been privy to all the administrative and policy decision of the Government of Delhi and hold a position like Election Commissioner at the Municipal Corporation of Delhi may be exposed to the possibility of manipulation of the outcome of the election process.

It also stated that, said that notification is improper in as much as it had been announced prematurely even when the post of election commissioner is not vacant only to ensure unquestioned allegiance to the commands of the Delhi Government in lieu of extended service tenure of five year of the serving chief secretary of Delhi.

The petitioner seeks court direction for a broad guideline for the appointment of election commissioner of Municipal Corporation of Delhi ensuring the impartiality and neutrality of the candidate who would be an independent person of high integrity being not entrusted with any kind of government assignment.

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Source: ANI