AG to help SC decide plea for parity

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has sought assistance of Attorney General K K Venugopal to decide a PIL seeking parity for the two Election Commissioners with the Chief Election Commissioner in respect of norms for removal from the constitutional post.

Petition Filed

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud posted the petition filed by Delhi BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay for hearing after three weeks.

The petitioner sought direction to the Centre not to remove the two Election Commissioners (ECs) from office, except in the same manner and grounds as provided for removing the CEC.

According to him, the element of independence sought to be achieved under the Constitution is not exclusively for an individual but for the institution.

Hence, autonomy of the ECI can only be strengthened if the ECs are provided with similar protection as the CEC.

Unequal protection

The plea pointed out that Article 324(5) of the Constitution protects the CEC from removal, except when the manner and grounds of removal are the same as in the case of a judge of the Supreme Court.

However, Clause(5) of Article 324 does not provide similar protection to the ECs and it merely says that the ECs cannot be removed from office except on the recommendation of the CEC.

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