Principle & procedure: on the court ruling on AAP MLAs

The Delhi High Court verdict setting aside the disqualification of 20 Aam Aadmi Party MLAs in Delhi is a searing(दिलों को भेदनेजलाना/जलाना) indictment(कलंक/अभियोग) of the manner in which the Election Commission handled the complaint that they held offices of profit while serving as parliamentary secretaries. For a body vested(निहित/स्थित) with the crucial(महत्वपूर्ण/निर्णायक) power to determine whether lawmakers have incurred disqualification in certain circumstances(परिस्थिति/हालत) and advise the President or the Governor suitably(उपयुक्त रूप से),, this is an embarrassing(शर्मनाक/संकोची) moment. The court has not reviewed(समीक्षा करना/
पुनर्विचार करना) its decision on merits(गुणदोष). Rather, it has ruled that the EC violated the principles of natural justice while adjudicating(निर्णय करना) a lawyer’s complaint against the legislators(विधायकों). It failed to offer an oral hearing on the merits of the complaint and chose to hide under the specious argument that notices had been issued to the MLAs to respond to documents that the EC had summoned(तलब/गवाही के लिये सम्मन देना) from the Delhi government. After saying in its order of June 2017 that it would fix a date for the next hearing, the commission issued two notices seeking replies but fixed no date; instead, it proceeded to give its decision on January 19, 2018. Further, Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat, who had recused himself at an earlier point, rejoined the process without intimation(सूचना/घोषणा) to the legislators. And another vitiating(हानि पहुंचाना/भ्रष्ट करना) factor was that Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, who had not heard the matter and assumed office only in September 2017, had signed the order. It is a basic feature of judicial or quasi-judicial processes that someone who does not hear a matter does not decide on it.
The high court order scrupulously adheres to the core principles of judicial review of decisions made by a duly(विधिवत/यथोचित) empowered adjudicatory body. Courts do not normallyplunge(प्रवेश/डुबाना) into the merits of such a decision, but examine whether there has been any violation of natural justice, whether sufficient opportunity has been given to the parties and whether the proceedings were vitiated by bias, arbitrariness(मनमानी करना/निरंकुशता) or any extraneous(बाहरी/भिन्न) consideration. That a pre-eminent constitutional body should be found wanting in ensuring natural justice while answering a reference from the President is a sad comment on its functioning. It ought to have treated the matter with abundant(प्रचुर/ज़्यादा) caution, given the ease with which political parties tend to question the EC’s impartiality(निष्पक्षता). The EC has an opportunity to redeem its name by more carefully considering the same question that has now been remanded to it for fresh adjudication. It could appeal to the Supreme Court, but a better course would be to hold a fresh and fair hearing. The high court has acknowledged the EC’s “latitude(अक्षांश /विस्तार)and liberty” in matters of procedure, but cautioned(आगाह) that any procedure should be sound, fair and just. In proceedings that may result in unseating elected representatives, fairness of procedure is no less important than finding an answer to the question whether they have incurred disqualification.

Important Vocabulary
Synonyms: allegation, arraignment, bill, charge, citation
Antonyms: praise, absolution, acquittal, exoneration
Synonyms: awkward, confusing, difficult, disconcerting, distressing
Antonyms: convenient, easy, helpful, straightforward, uncomplicated
Synonyms: benefit, dignity, excellence, integrity, quality
Antonyms: disadvantage, dishonor, disrespect, evil, ill repute
4.Vitiating(हानि पहुंचाना/भ्रष्ट करना)
Synonyms: annihilate, negate, quash, abate, abolish
Antonyms: allow, help, permit, affirm, approve
5.Searing(दिलों को भेदनेजलाना/जलाना)
Synonyms: baking, blazing, blistering, fiery, incandescent
Antonyms: cold, cool, freezing, happy, unfriendly
Synonyms: descent, dive, fall, jump, spree
Antonyms: ascent, rise, increase
Synonyms: additional, immaterial, incidental, nonessential, superfluous
Antonyms: essential, important, material, necessary, needed
Synonyms: ample, bountiful, copious, generous, heavy
Antonyms: depleted, insufficient, lacking, meager, needy
9.Arbitrariness(मनमानी करना/निरंकुशता)
Synonyms: bigotry, extremism, hatred, intolerance, zeal
Antonyms: apathy, calmness, dislike, doubt, fairness
Synonyms: equality, fairness, neutrality, probity, justice
Antonyms: unfairness
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