The Minister of Justice denounces the “elements” who try to “discredit” the EC | India News

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NEW DELHI: Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju said on Tuesday that “elements” trying to discredit the Electoral Commission (EC) were actually trying to discredit the country’s democratic process.
The Minister also said that courts have the right to comment on the Commission, but judges will also have to think about the language used.
People who want to challenge democracy have found a way to do so by challenging the polling panel, Rijiju said at a National Voters Day event organized by the EC where Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and the Election Commissioners Rajiv Kumar and Anup Chandra Pandey were present.
The minister said the way EC has handled challenges from time to time, there is little room for criticism.
“There are efforts to discredit the efforts of the EC…those elements that are trying to discredit the EC are actually trying to discredit the democratic process in our country,” he said.
However, he did not name the “elements” he was referring to.
In a democracy, people are free to criticize the EC, but the criticism must be based on logic, he said, adding that the language used must conform to civic standards.
He was of the opinion that while it is easy to pass on comments, it is difficult to understand the issues and the context in which the voting committee operates.
Although he did not specify any judicial observations, the polls watchdog had been criticized by the courts for assembly polls held last year amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“If the courts say about CE, it is possible. Courts have the right. But judges will have to think about the language they use. Under what circumstances CE works must be understood,” he said.
Addressing the rally, Rijiju said that behind the success of the EC is the contribution of political parties and citizens.
He noted that while the polling panel has been criticized, it has also been appreciated by people.
Referring to recent passage of electoral reform bill, minister says due to ‘heckling’ in the House he felt ‘handicapped’ as he could not explain reforms in detail introduced.
He said people should know that the reforms were the result of the efforts made by the EC and the legislative department of the Ministry of Justice and informed that other electoral reforms may take place in the future.
The Minister said he would have been happy if he had been able to speak for a few more minutes in Parliament to explain the reforms.
Linking Aadhaar to voter rolls to eliminate duplicate entries, increase the dates an 18-year-old can register as a voter from one to four in a year, and make the election law gender-neutral for service voters were part of the bill.
The new provisions have not yet entered into force. This will happen once the EC and the Ministry of Justice have decided on the date of its implementation. The Legislative Department is the nodal agency for dealing with EC-related issues.
The minister said that while the government does not believe in interference in the functioning of independent bodies, constant coordination is needed to get things done.
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