‘Selective amnesia’: EC rebuts ex-CEC on its handling of hate speech
New Delhi: In a rare war of words between the Election Commission and a former chief election commissioner who questioned the poll panel for not filing FIRs against hate speech in the recent Delhi polls, the EC has accused S Y Quraishi of “selective amnesia”, highlighting that none of the model code violation cases he had himself handled as CEC resulted in FIRs.
Quraishi, who led EC from 2010 to 2012, had in an opinion piece published in a daily on February 8, 2020, wondered why EC had stopped short of filing FIRs against Union minister Anurag Thakur and BJP MP Parvesh Verma under Representation of the People Act (RP Act) or Section 153 of IPC for hate speech despite finding them “guilty of offences deserving punishment” under Section 123 and 125 of RP Act. He, however, appreciated EC’s decision to drop the two from BJP’s list of star campaigners and temporarily bar them from campaigning.
In a reply sent to Quraishi on February 13, 2020 — a copy
In an opinion piece, SY Quraishi asked why EC hadn’t filed FIRs against minister Anurag Thakur and MP Parvesh Verma for hate speech during Delhi polls
In reply, deputy election commissioner Sandeep Saxena said no action was taken under Sec 123 & 125 of RP Act 1951/153 of IPC 1860 by EC during Quraishi’s tenure as CEC (2010-12)
of which is with TOI — deputy election commissioner Sandeep Saxena put on record each of the model code violation proceedings undertaken during Quraishi’s own term. “It would be seen from the enclosed list that no action was taken by the then Commission during this period under Sections 123 and 125 of RP Act 1951/153 of IPC 1860,” he pointed out.
“It is rather ironic as how far selective amnesia can mislead the readers,” the letter further stated.
When you go to another state, it takes time to get familiar with the working culture and the people,” Justice Dharmadhikari said after his resignation. “There is also a lot of administrative work that needs to be done as a judge, which takes time.” He said he would be “connected and committed to law and perhaps get into arbitration” and continue to live in Mumbai.
The previous resignation of an HC judge was in September. Madras HC CJ V K Tahilramani resigned after the Supreme Court collegium declined her request to reconsider a transfer to the Meghalaya HC as its CJ.
Justice Dharmadhikari’s continuation would have led to an awkward situation in Bombay HC after the retirement of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog (due on February 23). Among the country’s HC judges who are non-CJs, he is the senior-most, implying that any judge to be appointed as the Bombay HC’s CJ would be junior to him. Justice Dharmadhikari cannot be made the Bombay HC’s CJ as no judge can become the CJ of the same HC expect if their remaining tenure is under six months. For example, Justice Naresh Patil, who retired in April 2019, was appointed CJ of the Bombay HC on October 29, 2018.
Justice Dharmadhikari’s resignation took lawyers by surprise. His last sitting was on his regular bench with Justice Riyaz Chagla, before lunch. He was being persuaded to leave Maharashtra since Justice V K Tahilramani left the Madras HC. “I had to take a call,” he said, in a “short span”. “My elders used to say, ‘listen when your family talks and listen when your body talks’.” Did his family, including his wife, ask him not to go to any other HC? To the question, the judge smiled and said, “No, no”.
An advocate since 1983, he was appointed a Bombay HC judge in 2003, the same year his father, the late Judge C S Dharmadhikari, was awarded a Padma Bhushan. His cousin, Justice B P Dharmadhikari, is the second senior-most judge at the Bombay HC right now.
Full report on www.toi.in