Govt Employees Holding Post Of State Election Commissioner Was Asked To Immediately Step Down As SEC By Supreme Court

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Case: State of Goa and another v Fouzia Imtiaz Shaik

Coram: Justices RF Nariman, BR Gavai, Hrishikesh Roy

Case No: [CA: 881 of 2021]

Court Observation: “Giving an additional charge of such an important and independent constitutional office to an officer who is directly under the control of the State Government is, in our view, a mockery of the constitutional mandate. We therefore declare that the additional charge given to a Law Secretary to the government of the state flouts the constitutional mandate of Article 243K”, the bench observed.

“The State Election Commissioner has to be a person who is independent of the State Government as he is an important constitutional functionary who is to oversee the entire election process in the state qua panchayats and municipalities.

The importance given to the independence of a State Election Commissioner is explicit from the provision for removal from his office made in the proviso to clause (2) of Article 243K. Insofar as the manner and the ground for his removal from the office is concerned, he has been equated with aJudge of a High Court.

Giving an additional charge of such an important and independent constitutional office to an officer who is directly under the control of the State Government is, in our view, a mockery of the constitutional mandate. We, therefore, declare that the additional charge given to a Law Secretary to the government of the state flouts the constitutional mandate of Article 243K”.

“It is also made clear that henceforth, all State Election Commissioners appointed under Article243K in the length and breadth of India have to be independent persons who cannot be persons who are occupying a post or office under the Central or any State Government.

If there are any such persons holding the post of State Election Commissioner in any other state, such persons must be asked forthwith to step down from such office and the State Government concerned be bound to fulfill the constitutional mandate of Article 243K by appointing only independent persons to this high constitutional office”.


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