New Delhi: The Election Commission on Thursday made
a strong pitch for financial autonomy on the lines granted to
constitutional bodies like the Supreme Court and the CAG,
saying the dependence on the government could lead to conflict
"We want the budget of the Election Commission to be
charged through the Consolidated Fund of India and not voted
through Parliament," Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi
said while speaking at a discussion on electoral reforms
organised by the Aspen Institute.
He said, "Any dependence on the government for
anything...and they may ask for a price and that is where the
conflict (can) start because we will not pay any price because
we value our independence and will guard it to the last drop
of our blood."
Quraishi`s remarks came in the backdrop of verbal
skirmishes between ministers and the Commission in the run up
to the UP assembly elections.
"We are going after politicians all the time and they
will be then sitting in judgement and torpedo our proposals.
It`s a happy thing that they have not damaged us so far.
"The Supreme Court gets it directly from consolidated
fund, the CAG`s funds come from consolidated fund, that of
UPSC comes from consolidated fund. I don`t know why the
Election Commission was kept out of this," Quraishi said.
Apart from the funding, the CEC also sought an
independent secretariat for the Commission.
"We want an independent secretariat. Is it an
unreasonable demand? The Supreme Court, the high courts have
independent registries. Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha have their
independent secretariats," he said.