SC ribs EC on cash seizures

Supreme Court

The Election Commission has done good work in recent years but sometimes it takes decisions in over-anxiety, the Supreme Court on Friday said while referring to poll watchdog's order on seizure of cash above Rs 2.5 lakh in transit ahead of the 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 its orders for cash seizure above Rs 2.5 lakh saying it was unconstitutional.

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

The HC, 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 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.

The search and seizure drive had caused a lot of resentment in the business community.

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