Delhi HC junks plea against naming Chief Secy as State Election Commissioner

The Delhi High Court on Monday turned down a plea against the appointment of Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev as State Election Commissioner for conducting the municipal elections in the national capital.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Navin Chawla dismissed the plea filed by Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Dr Nand Kishore Garg, contending that the appointment is “politically motivated” as the Chief Secretary has been privy to all administrative and policy decisions of the city government.

Advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi appeared for the petitioner.

Earlier, another bench of the High Court had issued notice to the city government over the plea challenging the appointment of the Chief Secretary as Election Commissioner from April 21, alleging the possibility of manipulation of the outcome of the election process with the appointment.

It highlighted that the order is also in violation of the Constitution’s Article 243K which enshrined the appointment of an independent Election Commissioner as interpreted and laid down by the Supreme Court.

Terming the order premature, the petitioner sought broad guidelines for the appointment of the Election Commissioner for ensuring the impartiality and neutrality of the candidate who would be an independent person of high integrity.

Dev, a 1987 batch IAS officer of AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram, and Union Territories) cadre, assumed charge as Chief Secretary in 2018, succeeding Anshu Prakash.

The last municipal elections were held in Delhi in April 2017. The five-year term of the elected members of the three corporations — East, North, and South Delhi Municipal Corporations — is set to come to an end in April 2022 and polls will be held to elect 272 new municipal councillors.

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