New Delhi: With Law Minister Salman Khurshid ruffling feathers by saying his ministry has administrative control over Election Commission, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured the poll body that the government respects its constitutional status and functional autonomy.

READ MORE: No personal issues with Khurshid: CEC

Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi had written to the Prime Minister after Khurshid recently said in a TV interview that the Law Ministry has control over the Election Commission to the extent that it accords sanction for foreign travel of the Election Commissioners.

He was talking in the context of Team Anna's objection to CBI being retained under government control under the Lokpal Bill when he said "every institution is under some control".

Writing back to Quraishi, the Prime Minister has said the government respects the Constitutional status and functional autonomy of the Election Commission, sources said.

He assured the CEC that any apprehensions that the EC may have would be taken care of.

EC sources noted that the poll body was part of the government but Khurshid's statement had raised doubts.

Quraishi, when asked about the letter on Friday, refused to discuss it but dismissed suggestions that it was getting personal between him and Khurshid.
     
"It is a very ridiculous idea. We are friends otherwise, personally. It is just an institutional issue," he said.
     
This is the second time in recent days that Khurshid has drawn the EC's ire.
     
The Commission had on Tuesday served show cause notice on the minister for promising 9 percent sub-quota for minorities in UP while campaigning for his wife Louise in Farrukhabad on Sunday.
     
The minister has denied having violated the Model Code of Conduct, saying the promise was made by the Congress in its manifesto released in the run-up to the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. The EC is yet to take a decision on it.

(Agencies)