EC sometimes takes decisions in over-anxiety: SC

Supreme Court

The Election Commission has done good work in recent years but sometimes it takes decisions in over-anxiety, the Supreme Court today said while referring to poll watchdog's order on cash seizure above Rs 2.5 lakh in transit ahead of Gujarat assembly elections.

"It 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 something in over-anxiety," a bench headed by Justice D K Jain said.

The bench was hearing a plea filed by Election Commission challenging order of Gujarat High Court which had quashed it's orders for cash seizure above Rs 2.5 lakh saying that it was unconstitutional.

The bench, however, did not pass any order and adjourned the hearing for Monday.

The High Court, on a PIL filed by Bhagyoday Jan Parishad and Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry, had on November 9 said that EC's directive to randomly search and seize 'in-transit' cash above Rs 2.5 lakh in poll-bound Gujarat was "unconstitutional" and directed it to immediately stop such operations.

"The instructions by the EC which empower its officers to randomly search any vehicle and seize cash above Rs 2.5 lakh is ultra vires (beyond powers) being violative of Article 21 of the Constitution, and also beyond the powers conferred on the EC," the High Court had said.

"We direct the EC that (such) instructions shall not be implemented and there shall not be any indiscriminate or random search or seizure of any vehicle, unless there is any reliable or credible information with the EC," it had said.

The Election Commission directive, dated October 3, followed announcement of the state Assembly elections.

EC had deployed 587 static surveillance teams (SSTs) and 182 flying squads in the state, which have so far seized Rs 22.56 crore of unaccounted money, of which Rs 22.20 crore was handed over to the Income Tax department.

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