HC notice to Delhi govt over Chief Secy being named Election Commissioner

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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the city government over a petition challenging the appointment of Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev as Election Commissioner from April 21, 2022.

The bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh was hearing the petition filed by former 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 government of Delhi.

The court issued notice and listed the matter for further hearing on March 31, 2022.

In the plea filed through advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi, the petitioner sought directions from the city government to withdraw the appointment order of Dev as Election Commissioner,as it is in “violation of rules”, and “will motivate vested interest” to affect the forthcoming scheduled election of the Municipal Corporations in the national capital.

The plea also alleged a 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 independent Election Commissioner as interpreted and laid down by the Supreme Court.

Terming the order as 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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