The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam &
Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Election Commission‘s order is to be heeded or flouted?

On April 8th, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lashed out at the Election Commission of India for having ordered transfer and replacement of officials from various districts, giving a time frame for it, with a view to ensure fair and free electoral process, that she won't 'allow' these transfers. On 7thApril, EC had announced the transfer of five Superintendents of Police and one District Magistrate after the opposition complained of bias. 

In its letter, EC ordered transfer of the officials to “non-election related and non-field” posts by 8th April. When the Chief Minister in a public meeting condemned and challenged the EC’s order, and declared clear disobedience to it, EC said it would have to cancel the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal if the State Government did comply with its order.  

1.             Election Commission is a constitutional body. It has been set up under constitutional enactment of Parliament, to ensure that elections in the country are held in a free and fair manner and the Parliament itself duly comes into existence, with its power and potentials.
2.           In the matter of all elections, State and Central, Election Commission has sovereign powers, which are willingly and collectively bestowed by the people through their elected representatives.
3.       After elections are formally announced, Election Commission has supreme powers, which the State and Central Governments should willingly heed and implement, so that elections are conducted fairly and freely. Because they owe their own existence to the Election Commission and its constitutional functioning. All elected representatives, including all ministers, derive their status and power, only after EC conducts elections and announces the results. 
4.     Election Commission should be encouraged to take confidently whatever action, procedure or safeguard has to be taken,  to  conduct elections freely and fairly, without fear or favour. Only then the people can rely upon the electoral process, and accept it as faithful, truthful and effective. In this the Election Commission should receive all loyalty and support from the ruling Governments, no matter what party they represent.
5.            EC’s order on transfer of officers was occasioned by complaint from opposition party that the officers concerned were acting with partiality.  This was the best to be done in order to reassure the people about the impartial conduct of elections, which the Chief Minister’s party and its candidates are also relying upon for their getting elected. The entire country rests upon the electoral process and its destined outcome.
6.       Instead of appreciating and acting upon the order, which was the faithful task of any Government, the West Bengal Chief Minister, apparently courting political and administrative pride, openly challenged the Election Commission’s order, and declared refusal of compliance. If election is the means to install a Ministry, this act of the CM is a clear affront to the Constitution, constitutional machinery and the entire electoral process.
7.            The Chief Minister has come into power and position only on the basis of the fair election held by the Election Commission. Being so, how can any Chief Minister ever think of flouting the Election Commission’s orders, which have made State and Central Ministers what they are?
8.              This is like Bhasmasura, having gained a boon from Shiva, wanting to try it and kill Shiva Himself! Our epic narrations are always portraying the intricacies of human mind and how destructive it can be, thus warning all people to safeguard themselves against such pitfalls and destructive moves. I think the elected representatives as well as the electorate must have regular classes on the message of our epic literature, which deals with characteral elegance, behavioural majesty and interactional excellence of the humans.
9.           It is clear and open that what is needed is to strengthen Election Commission, CAG, CVC and such other , so that the democratic processes and democratic governments can function with full representation, confidence and clarity, commanding respect, allegiance and adherence from the people, who elect them to give an effective Administration.
10.        Nothing should be done to dislodge, weaken or thwart the democratic processes in the country, of which the electoral process and the Election Commission are supreme and sacrosanct.
11.       What is the harm if some officers are transferred and replaced? The real prestige of any Government is to prove its innocence and reliability by implementing the order, and not vice versa.
12.       When a Chief Minister openly speaks about flouting the order of Election Commission, forcing the Commission to go a step further saying that it will be forced to call off the election, what credibility will the Chief Minister and the Government have in the minds of faithful citizens? None would like any Government elected by them to be discredited with indiscretion, tall talk or disobedience to the Constitutional procedures and practices.
13.     Though the Chief Minister of West Bengal, has now accepted the EC’s orders, no well-meaning citizen of the country would be happy at the way the stern refusal and subsequent submission have come to be.
14.           We have to become wiser and more discreet to run the Democratic Government and help in ensuring the health and wellbeing of the democratic processes in the country.
15.          Let this National Higher Call be cherished and nourished by all concerned, so that our great country will rise to the characteral refinement and behavioural sublimity, which constitute our real cultural glory.

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