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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Centre’s Bill excludes CJI for selection of CEC and other ECs

The Centre is all set to push for the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023 that will exclude the Chief Justice of India from the process of appointment.

The Bill is likely to trigger a fresh face-off between the executive and the judiciary.

The Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Services and Term of Office) Bill, 2023, is likely to be introduced in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

The Bill proposes that the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and other Election Commissioners (ECs) shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of a panel comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister.

The Selection Committee will be chaired by the Prime Minister, with the LoP and the Union Cabinet Minister appointed by the Prime Minister to be the members.

The Bill also proposes that the CEC and othe ECs shall be appointed from among the persons who are holding or have held a post equivalent to the rank of Secretary to the Government of India and shall be persons of integrity, who have the knowledge of and experience in management and conduct of elections.

It also proposes that a search committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary and comprising two other members not below the rank of Secretary to the Government of India, having knowledge and experience in matters relating to elections, shall prepare a panel of five persons for consideration of the Selection Committee, for appointment as the CEC and other ECs.

The Bill, in effect, aims to dilute the Supreme Court’s March 2023 judgment in which a Constitution bench held that the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners shall be done by the President on the advice of a panel comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India.

The Supreme Court order has also said until Parliament makes a law in consonance with Article 324(2) of the Constitution, the following guidelines shall be in effect — We declare that the appointment of the CEC and the other ECs shall be made on the recommendations made by a three-member Committee comprising the Prime Minister, LoP of the Lok Sabha and in case no LoP is available, the Leader of the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha in terms of numerical strength and the Chief Justice of India.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)

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