EC at times acts out of over-anxiety: SC on Gujarat seizures

The Supreme Court on Friday observed that while the Election Commission has done good work in recent years, it has also taken some decisions "out of over-anxiety".

"It (EC) has done good work in the last few years and we must appreciate it. We must give credit to you for this but sometimes you do things in over-anxiety," a Bench led by Justice D K Jain said while referring to poll watchdog's order on cash seizure above Rs 2.5 lakh in transit ahead of Gujarat Assembly elections. The court will hear the matter further on Monday.

The EC has moved the apex court against a Gujarat High Court judgment, which had declared as "unconstitutional" the commission's order that people and vehicles be searched and cash over Rs 2.5 lakh being transported in poll-bound Gujarat be seized. The HC had also ordered the EC to immediately stop the random search and seizure of cash being carried out ahead of the Assembly polls in the state. It had ruled that the EC action amounted to violation of the citizens' right of privacy and free movement as envisaged under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The ruling on November 9 had come on two PILs, which claimed that random search and seizure by teams of EC is putting curbs on trading activity ahead of the festive season of Diwali.

The HC, in its order, had also clarified that the election regulator can take action if it has credible information on the wrong doings. It also said the model code of conduct for the elections applies to the political parties and to the candidates but not to the citizens whose day-to-day business should not be disrupted because of the code of conduct.

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