Chennai: Election Commission on Monday told Madras High Court there was no bias in its decision to shift state DGP and top officials and justified search and seizure of vehicles to curb use of money power in the April 13 Assembly polls.
EC had filed a counter affidavit, defending its order appointing Bhola Nath Director Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption as DGP, replacing Letika Saran, an action which had drawn the ire of Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.
A Division Bench, comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and M Venugopal had last week taken suo motu cognisance of a news report on Karunanidhi`s criticism of the EC`s action following which the commission filed a comprehensive affidavit
"It is open to the EC to nominate any officer as DGP for conducting elections for avoidance of any controversy. This could never be treated as bias and any such interference is totally unwarranted", the EC said.
The Court had said Karunanidhi`s statement raised questions whether EC could unilaterally announce and fix poll schedule with long gaps between voting and counting dates without following principles of deliberations and consultations.
It had also raised questions whether EC could unilaterally order transfer of officials in general and DGP in particular, without consulting the state government.
In reply, the EC said it is within its powers to nominate any DGP for conducting the polls, which cannot be questioned.
EC also noted Saran has not questioned its decision on the ground of bias and the court cannot take notice of the Chief Minister`s statement in an election meeting.
Maintaining it was open to the EC to nominate any officer as DGP to conduct the elections to avoid any controversy, it said "This could never be treated as bias and such interference is totally unwarranted."
"It is within the powers of the EC to decide who shall be district Election Officer or who shall be the Superintendent of Police of a concerned district", the counsel