SC dismisses PIL seeking cooling-off period for Bureaucrats before Political Plunge

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed, as withdrawn, a PIL seeking a cooling-off period for bureaucrats and public servants seeking to enter politics and contest elections.

A bench of Justices Surya Kant and Sandeep Mehta indicated that it was not inclined to entertain the public interest litigation.

“You want to withdraw or argue?” Justice Kant asked the petitioner’s counsel.

Sensing the disclination of the Bench to entertain the petition, the petitioner’s counsel chose to withdraw the PIL, also praying that the government servants who have served as legislators may not be entitled to a pension from the Parliament or Legislative Assembly and should be allowed to avail only one pension.

The plea, filed through advocate Sravan Kumar Karanam, sought implementation of the Election Commissione’s 2012 recommendations and the Centre’s Committee on Civil Service Reforms Report of 2004 on imposing a cooling-off period to prevent civil servants from contesting elections to the Parliament or state Assemblies on a political party ticket immediately after retirement or resignation from service.

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“But despite these recommendations made two decades ago, they are not being implemented, resulting in several bureaucrats and judges obtaining voluntary retirement from public service and choosing to contest elections immediately by joining a political party without a cooling-off period,” the plea said.

It added that any form of interest outside the job assigned can influence the decision-making process in administration and the existence of the “cooling-off period” strikes a balance between the bureaucrat’s public duty & personal interest.

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