The three senior Electoral Commission officials joined an online ‘informal interaction’ convened by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on November 16 despite expressing reservations, the Indian Express reported on Friday, raising questions of propriety on the relationship of the executive to a constitutional government. body.
Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and the two Election Commissioners, Rajiv Kumar and Anup Chandra Pandey, joined the meeting a day after the Commission received a letter from a Ministry of Justice official saying that PK Mishra, the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, “will chair a meeting” on a common electoral list and “expects the CEC” to be present. The law is the administrative department of the commission.
At two previous meetings on the same subject on August 13 and September 3 last year, election commission officials attended, not commissioners.
Chandra and the two election commissioners had an “informal interaction” with Mishra later, after the chief election commissioner expressed his “displeasure” to the Justice Department over his memo.
The memo caused a waver in the Electoral Commission because it read as a “summons” that violated precedent and constitutional norms, a source told the newspaper.
Express said Chandra was unavailable for comment and a Justice Department official declined to comment. The full bench of the electoral commission was in Chandigarh on Thursday to review preparations for assembly elections in the state next year.