Home INDIA & BEYOND Criticise constitutional bodies but in dignified way, say experts

Criticise constitutional bodies but in dignified way, say experts


New Delhi, May 9 :

With BJP’s disagreement with the poll panel over denial of nod for a rally by Narendra Modi in Varanasi escalating into a virtual confrontation, experts Friday said that any criticism of constitutional offices by aggrieved parties should be dignified and not sarcastic.

Constitutional experts IANS spoke to said that while constitutional bodies were not above criticism, the language has to be in keeping with the dignity of high offices.

Former Lok Sabha secretary general Subhash C. Kashyap said that those occupying high constitutional offices like that of chief election commissioner “should be above suspicion like Ceaser’s wife”.

“Political parties and citizens should also be careful that nothing is done to damage dignity of the high offices,” Kashyap told IANS.

He said constitutional bodies were also answerable and accountable like other institutions in a democracy.

Kashyap also expressed concern over level of public discourse during the campaigning for Lok Sabha poll.

“Everybody should be restrained,” he said.

G. C. Malhotra, another former Lok Sabha secretary general, said there should be no sarcasm in words used for constitutional bodies by aggrieved parties.

“Those aggrieved with election commission’s decision can file an appeal. They can take legal recourse or go the court of people,” he said.

He said Modi’s words referring to neutrality of the commission were “strong.”

BJP leader Arun Jaitley Friday however justified his criticism of the poll panel over its “condoning’ the stance of Varanasi District Magistrate Pranjal Yadav that party prime ministerial candidate Modi’s rally could not be held at Beniabagh area of the city Thursday due to security reasons.

Jaitley said he did note subscribe to the view that merely because an institution is created by the constitution, it cannot be criticised.

“Criticism can be intended to put the institution to notice that either the current incumbent or future successors correct the error into which the institution has fallen,” he said in an article of the BJPs’ website Friday.

The Election Commission had held a press conference Thursday following BJP’s criticism and appealed to “senior leaders of parties to show more maturity while referring to constitutional bodies.”

Election Commissioner H. S. Brahma, who interacted with media persons Friday, did not answer specific query about Modi’s remarks about the poll panel but admitted that no institution was above criticism.

“If (an authority) is not amenable to criticism, it will not be able to improve,” he said, adding the poll panel should be “mentally prepared” to accept criticism.