New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) has sought more powers to initiate contempt proceedings against some political parties which take advantage of the freedom of expression and make wild allegations against it without any credible evidence.
In a letter written in April, the Commission has urged the law ministry to amend the election laws so that it can use ‘Contempt of Court’ Act against such parties.
The letter comes close on the heels of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) questioning the impartiality of the EC. Delhi chief minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal had questioned the impartiality of election commissioners A.K. Joti and O.P. Rawat. Following this, Rawat had recused himself from cases EC is adjudicating against AAP members of legislative assemblies (MLAs), including the one relating to 20 of them allegedly holding office of profit.
“... Some even accuse the Commission of working in favour of the winning political parties...in order to address the emerging situation, there is a rationale and a strong-felt need that the Election Commission may also be given power to punish for its own contempt," the poll watchdog said. It also pointed out that several election management bodies, including those in Kenya and Pakistan have “direct powers" to initiate contempt proceedings.