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SC asks Govt why there is no law on appointment of CEC and ECs

Ashish Tripathi, New Delhi, DH News Service, Jul 5 2017, 13:09 IST
A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud wondered should the apex court step in till the time Parliament passed the enabling law to ensure appointment of CEC and ECs in a fair and independent manner. DH file photo

A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud wondered should the apex court step in till the time Parliament passed the enabling law to ensure appointment of CEC and ECs in a fair and independent manner. DH file photo

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Union Government to explain why there is no law to appoint Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.

A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud wondered should the apex court step in till the time Parliament passed the enabling law to ensure appointment of CEC and ECs in a fair and independent manner.

"Absence of law may force the court to step in to ensure that the appointment of CEC and ECs is fair...for whatever reasons Parliament did not pass the law. Even for appointment of CBI director, Leader of Opposition is involved," the bench asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar.

The law officer submitted that the apppintment in the poll panel is made by the President and Prime Minister.

The bench said we don't find any procedure on appointment of CEC and ECs.

The apex court had in 2015 sought the Centre's response on a PIL seeking direction to make appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners transparent and independent through a committee of Chief Justice of India, Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition.

The petition was filed by Advocate Prashant Bhushan on behalf of Arun Baranwal.

The petitioner contended that the exclusive right given to the government for appointment of CEC and ECs must be ended by putting in place the high-powered panel.

He cited reports of the Law Commission on Electoral Reforms 2015, Second Administrative Reforms Commission 2007 and Committee on Electoral Reforms 1990, recommending a broad-based selection committee comprising CJI, PM and LoP for the purpose. The petitioner submitted that sole prerogative of the government in appointment of CEC and ECs compromised the independence of the EC.

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