Independence of State Election Commission – UPSC GS2

The Supreme Court in its recent judgment ruled that government officials cannot be appointed as State Election Commissioner (SEC).
Introduction:
  • 25 years have passed since local governance was introduced in India by the 73rd and 74th Constitution Amendments. However, there is very little and actual progress in this direction.
  • There is inadequate devolution of powers to the third tier of governance.
  • The SEC is responsible for holding unbiased elections for local bodies in the state. But local elections often suffer from abuse, charges of ward fixing, and ward reservation.
The Supreme Court ruling
  • Entrusting additional charge of State Election Commissioner to a government official is a¬†mockery of the Constitution.
  • Under Article 142 the SC directed all SECs who currently hold an additional charge, to step down immediately. It stated that a¬†government employee or bureaucrat cannot be appointed as Election Commissioner.
Way forward
  • The SC ruling will help secure the independence of SECs in the future.
  • The independence of the Election Commission cannot be compromised in a democracy.
  • Centre should work on the devolution of powers to the local level of governance. It ensures that decisions are made closer to the local people, communities, and businesses.

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