Khurshid mocks SC, EC; comes under fire

Dubs decisions by constitutional authorities as convoluted

Khurshid mocks SC, EC; comes under fire

New Delhi : In strong comments about the Supreme Court and the Election Commission, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has raised questions about some of their decisions on elections describing them as ‘convoluted’ and intruding into Parliament or government’s domain.

He called the apex court judgement disqualifying convicted lawmakers as not law but “a judge-made law” and mocked at the Election Commission’s guidelines by saying that “you should do or say nothing that wins you an election. You should try your best to lose elections.”

Addressing the School of Oriental and African Studies on the ‘Challenges of Democracy in India’, Khurshid said the Election Commission’s Model Code of Conduct made it difficult for parties to win elections.

“The recent instructions that we received from them (EC) interestingly are that our manifesto must be certain that it does not offer the building of roads, because promise of building roads distorts democratic decision-making. You should also not offer drinking water because that distorts decision-making,” the senior Congress leader said.

Khurshid said the broad philosophical approach, as he understood was that “you should do or say nothing that wins you an election. You should try your best to lose elections. I cheekily said to them we try to lose our elections for five years; give us 15 days in which we can try and win them please”.

He described the Commission as “very vigorous and highly respected”, which has “cleaned up a lot of the ugly warts of our election process”. But they are only three of them, with no appeal against them. And three of them can decide what word you can use in an election campaign. That is an interesting area of study on how much Election Commissions can interfere in public discourse,” Khurshid said.

The minister also spoke at length about the Supreme Court’s decision making in relation to elections. “In India, courts are taking a view on issues that are in democratic theory really an area of Parliament or government to decide. Their explanation is that if you will not be able to act and if you will not address these issues, we will have no choice but take them over.

“They are also deciding who can now go to Parliament and who can’t go to Parliament. This is not law, but judge-made law,” Khurshid said.

Apparently referring to the Supreme Court judgement on lower courts having to complete trials involving cases of lawmwkers, he said the political system could not do very much. So the SC stepped in and said people who have criminal background must not be allowed to contest.

“If they are people who are MPs and MLAs, their elections must be subject to what happens in trials, the trials must be fast-tracked. Six months is all the time we will give for MPs and MLAs to be tried etc., etc. All kinds of convoluted decisions have come.        –PTI

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