One of the lawyers in the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) panel of counsels in the Supreme Court has resigned saying his values “are not in consonance with the current functioning” of the poll body.
In his resignation letter, Mohit D Ram said although it had been “an honour” to represent the ECI, he now wanted to withdraw from the responsibilities of its panel counsel before the Supreme Court.
He described representing the ECI “a cherishing milestone” of his career. “I had a cherishing milestone in my career, in the journey which began with being part of the office of the standing counsel of ECI and progressed as one of the panel counsels of ECI (since 2013),” he said.
“However, I have found that my values are not in consonance with the current functioning of the ECI; and hence I withdraw myself from the responsibilities of its panel counsel before the Supreme Court of India,” Ram said.
Ram’s resignation comes after the ECI fought a case in the apex court requesting that the media be stopped from reporting court observations. The EC’s objection involved the Madras High Court recently commenting that the poll body was “singularly” responsible for the recent surge in COVID cases and “should be booked for murder, probably” for not stopping election rallies in the last two months. The comment was not in the final order.
The ECI approached the Supreme Court against what it called “blatantly disparaging remarks” that had dented its image.
The Supreme Court said constitutional authorities could do better than to complain and ask for fetters on the media. “Article 19 does not give right to freedom of speech and expression only to people, but also confers this right to the media. It would be retrograde for the Supreme Court to gag the media,” the Supreme Court said.