Central and State governments should not appoint persons holding government office as Election Commissioners, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday stating that entrusting additional charge of State Election Commissioner to a government official is a mockery of the Constitution.
A Bench of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, BR Gavai and Hrishikesh Roy upholding the High Court judgment underscored that independence of Election Commission cannot be compromised and that State Election Commissioners have to be independent persons.
None of the states can appoint a person who holds any office with the government (as Election Commissioner), the Court added.
The judgment came on an appeal against an order of the Bombay High Court which had set aside the election notification issued by the Goa State Election Commission in the municipalities of Margao, Mapusa, Mormugao, Sanguem and Quepem.
The top court gave a direction to all states to comply with the constitutional scheme of independent SEC if they are in default.
The High Court had allowed the State Election Commission to continue the election process in other municipalities while disallowing the same in five municipalities for not reserving the wards for women as required under the law.
Supreme Court today held that it was a disturbing feature that a government servant, while being in employment with government, was in charge of election commission in Goa.
The top court further observed that an officer of the government attempted to overrule the High Court decision with regard to holding Panchayat polls.