PM, opposition leader, CJI panel to select CEC, ECs: SC
Quashing the present system of making top appointments in the Election Commission of India (ECI), the Supreme Court on Thursday appointed a committee to select the poll body members. The panel—including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, and Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud—will select the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs) until Parliament brings a law.
Why does this story matter?
- The SC has earlier called for greater transparency in the selection process of ECI members.
- Pulling up the government in November last year, the SC asked why no law was passed in 70 years for picking the members of the Election Commission's panel.
- The remark followed the government's submission to the court that there was no need for judicial interference in the present system.
Leader of single largest opposition party alternative for LoP
Now, a five-judge Constitution bench—headed by Justice KM Joseph—ruled if the Lok Sabha's Leader of Opposition (LoP) isn't available, the leader of the single largest opposition party should be included in the committee to select the CEC and ECs. Until now, the country's president appointed the ECI members for a tenure of six years or up to the age of 65, whichever comes earlier.
ECI members' appointment should be like CBI chief: SC
The SC was hearing several pleas seeking a collegium-like independent system for the appointment of the CEC and ECs. It said the system for appointing ECI members should be like the appointment of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief. The apex court emphasized the ECI's responsibility to ensure its purity and to act in a free and fair manner within the Constitutional framework.
Political dispensations betrayed Constitution's founding fathers: SC
The SC had earlier said that the founding fathers of the Constitution left it to the Parliament to frame a law for the appointment of the poll body's panel but political dispensations betrayed their trust over the last seven decades.
CEC should be someone who won't be bulldozed: SC
The SC's Constitution bench earlier sought clarity on the appointments of the CEC, saying the post should be held by someone who "doesn't allow themselves to be bulldozed." The bench had also called for the inclusion of the Chief Justice of India in the appointment committee calling the post of the CJI the least intrusive, which will ensure neutrality and independence of the ECI.