first_imgNews Updates’Strict’ Election Commission Can Ensure Govt. Funds Aren’t Brazenly Used For Campaigning Purposes Madras High Court Sparsh Upadhyay24 March 2021 8:56 AMShare This – xThe Madras High Court on Tuesday (23rd March) observed that in an ideal situation, there should be a level playing field where the government functionaries do not use the perks and benefits in the office while they campaign for election purposes. The Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy was hearing a plea seeking a prohibition on Ministers…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Madras High Court on Tuesday (23rd March) observed that in an ideal situation, there should be a level playing field where the government functionaries do not use the perks and benefits in the office while they campaign for election purposes. The Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy was hearing a plea seeking a prohibition on Ministers and the like from campaigning in the elections as they hold public offices, draw a salary from the government and are in a position to exert undue influence. The Petitioner, Founder, and President of Ahimsa Socialist Party prayed that his representation be considered and the Ministers and Opposition Leader are directed to restrain to campaign for their party candidates contest in the general elections (except their candidature), holding the public office and drawing a salary from public funds. Court’s observations Having perused the plea, the High Court noted that even though a Minister may be willing to shed his official bandobast to attend a rally merely as a politician, the very status of the Minister and the requirement to give him security cover may not permit the freedom that would be required for the purpose. “This goes more so with higher officials like Chief Ministers and those holding cabinet positions at the Centre”, Court added. However, the Court further said, “A strict Election Commission can, nonetheless, put some guidelines in place, in addition to the existing guidelines indicated in the model code, at least to ensure that the government funds are not brazenly used for campaigning purposes as is usually being indulged in at present.” The Court also noted that the Election Commission has sufficient authority to put checks and balances in place that allow a Minister or the like to enjoy the status yet not spend official funds for campaigning or election purposes. Significantly, the Court also remarked, “However, the malaise is now deep-rooted. One has to wear allegiance to a political leader, if not on the sleeve at least visibly crying out of the pocket. And these are not only at election time but adopted as a perennial measure, almost as a talisman to ward off the evil eye.” Lastly, directing the Election Commission to deal with the petitioner’s representation, if not for the upcoming elections, for the future elections, the Court closed the Writ Petition. Case title – Ahimsa Socialist Party, v. Chief Election Commissioner and others [W.P.No.5179 of 2021] Click Here To Download OrderRead OrderSubscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more