NEW DELHI: One of the two members in the Election Commission had sought key changes in the draft EC affidavit filed in the Madras high court against its “murder” observations and later, in the draft SLP before the Supreme Court, and had even drafted a separate affidavit with a different approach, asking for its contents to be made part of the EC affidavit or the SLP. In fact, he said the affidavit could be filed separately in his individual capacity in Madras HC, if the required changes were not made in the EC affidavit.
An officer claimed that the arguments made by the EC member were neither incorporated in the EC affidavit or the SLP nor was his separate affidavit filed or taken on record. This was however contested by another official who said all relevant contents were incorporated in the EC affidavit and SLP, which were approved by the member concerned.
TOI has learnt that the EC member, pained by the “uncalled for” observations against EC officers by the high court and its demoralising effect on the entire poll machinery, had given his go-ahead to the affidavit drafted by the legal counsel but placed the condition that it be aligned with a separate one drafted by him. This affidavit focused on the damning observations against the EC, stating that the panel had been ahead of the Covid curve, rather than seeking a restraint on media from reporting those observations. In case the affidavit could not be incorporated, it could be placed before the court as a separate affidavit to be filed on his behalf, the member suggested.
A senior EC officer said the panel’s counsel advised against a separate affidavit being filed by an individual election commissioner, when the case was filed against CEC, and it was for the poll panel to approach the court as an institution. When the EC affidavit was finally filed in Madras HC, neither the contents of the dissenting commissioner’s draft or his separate affidavit showed up, said another officer.