SC rejects PIL asking for cooling off period for officials to challenge polls

The Supreme Court said it could not even issue mandamus to the government for carrying out a cabinet decision.

“It is only where an administrative order confers rights or creates estoppel against the government that a mandamus can be issued to enforce the circular. Similarly, a mandamus can be issued to set aside an administrative order, which violates the rules of fairness,” the bench said. .

The Supreme Court said there was no doubt that a law could be enacted establishing the standards and qualifications to participate in specific elections.

“There is no doubt that public servants must uphold the highest ethical standards of integrity and honesty, political neutrality, fairness and impartiality in the performance of their duties, courtesy, accountability and of transparency.

“Integrity, impartiality, neutrality, transparency and honesty are non-negotiable. Ethical standards must necessarily be applied and strict measures must be taken against the officer concerned whenever there is a violation of ethical standards as set forth in the Rules of Conduct for all Indian Services., 1968.

It is not for this court to interfere in matters relating to the making of law, rule or policy, the bench said.

“Whether there should be a ‘cooling off period’ for public servants to run for office or not is best left to the relevant legislature, is vague, lacking in specifics and does not is supported by any evidence capable of justifying the intervention of that court.

“No details were given on the number and/or percentage of former bureaucrats, who ran for office on a political party list, let alone any act on their part, prior to their retirement, in deviation from the standards required of bureaucrats,” the bench said while rejecting a plea filed by a certain Vivek Krishna.

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