New Delhi: Terming as a closed chapter the issue of Law Minister Salman Khurshid's remarks during UP polls "challenging" the Election Commission, CEC S Y Quraishi on Monday justified taking up the issue with the President saying the "unprecedented" situation warranted such a step.
"Here was a Law Minister who was challenging the authority of a constitutional body, whose powers have also been upheld by the Supreme Court. That amounted to a very unprecedented situation...What we did was right," Quraishi said.
Responding to questions after delivering the 40th Shri Ram memorial lecture here today on 'Democracy and Governance – The current context', Quraishi said the Law Minister challenging the EC was a totally "different issue" but added that it was now a "closed chapter".
"The Law Minister saying 'hang me if you can' was a different issue. This was not a violation of the Model Code... He was challenging the EC's authority... We had to refer the matter to the President... After that, he (Khurshid) did make apologise publicly," Quraishi said.
On questions being raised on why the candidature of the minister's wife Louis Khurshid was not cancelled from Farrukhabad, Quraishi said "his wife is a different individual. Why should we countermand her election.... We have to be just and fair."
The EC had in in a strongly-worded communication to Pratibha Patil in February sought the "immediate and decisive" intervention of the President after it charged Khurshid with "improper and unlawful" defiance of its orders under which he was censured for promising sub-quota for minorities during UP polls.
Quraishi also justified the EC's decision to cover statues of elephants, the party symbol of BSP, in Uttar Pradesh elections for creating a level-playing field. "Elephant is a brand. Here is a brand promotion of a party logo...there should be equality and neutrality."