State governments cannot withdraw poll-related cases registered by the Election Commission (EC) without its permission, the EC has said in a directive to the states.
In a letter to chief electoral officers of all states, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Navin Chawla has asked them to seek permission of the commission before withdrawing any case related to electoral malpractices and violence.
The directive follows the Karnataka government’s decision to withdraw all cases against the powerful Bellary brothers, registered during the 2008 assembly elections and the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, HT has learnt.
The cases were withdrawn by the B.S. Yeddyurappa government despite the state police and the law department advising against the move.
Chawla confirmed his letter to the states, but declined comment. “It is an ongoing process to strengthen the Election Commission,” he said.
The commission has received a large number of complaints against the state government’s decision to withdraw cases against
ministers G. Janardhana Reddy and S. Sriramulu.
The cases were registered by election officials against them for allegedly threatening and assaulting political rivals to make them withdraw from the contest.
“The cases should be decided in courts. They cannot be withdrawn,” said a panel official.
The Karnataka government has defended the move, saying the state cabinet has the power to withdraw cases.
A visibly unhappy EC is learnt to have pointed out that such attempts by some state governments to get election related cases brushed under the carpet was an unhealthy trend. “All cases registered should be placed before the courts,” said the
The law ministry, the administrative controlling authority for the EC, is preparing a blueprint for electoral reforms. “We are planning to provide more powers to the Election Commission,” said Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily.