SC to examine how Election Commissioners are appointed

The Apex Court has decided to test the constitutionality of the method of appointing Election Commissioners.

"We are of the view that the matter may require a closer look at Article 324," a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said. PTI file photo
Highlights: 
A Constitution Bench comprises at least five judges of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court will examine the constitutional validity of the procedure followed to appoint Election Commissioners (ECs).
The Election Commission of India is mandated with conducting free and fair elections across the country.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday referred to a Constitution bench for an “authoritative pronouncement” on a plea for having a "fool proof and better" system for appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.

"We are of the view that the matter may require a closer look and interpretation of Article 324 (related to role of the Election Commission) of the Constitution," a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said.

The court passed its order on a PIL by advocate Prashant Bhushan on behalf of Anoop Baranwal.


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Bhushan contended a Collegium must be put in place in order to ensure independent and transparent system for appointment of Election Commissioners, like it has been done in case of CBI director and the Chief Vigilance Commissioner. He said the gaps in law must be plugged to ensure independence of the institution.

"Till a law is passed, directions must be issued to ensure independence of the EC from government's interference," he said.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Union Government, however, said so many eminent persons like Sukumar Sen, TN Sheshan, J M Lyngdoh, S Y Quraishi and N Gopalaswami have been appointed in the Election Commission.

He said the yardsticks used for appointment of judges in constitutional courts cannot be employed for appointment of ECs. He cited examples of constitutional bodies like Comptroller and Auditor General of India, UPSC chairman, Chairman, Finance Commission and National Commission for SC and STs where the appointments were made by the government only.

According to convention, the senior most Election Commissioner is appointed as Chief Election Commissioner by the President on a recommendation by the Union government. The CEC can be removed from the office through impeachment motion like in the case of a Supreme Court judge.

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SC to examine how Election Commissioners are appointed

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