There can't be parity between ECs and CEC, Centre tells SC

There can't be parity between ECs and CEC, Centre tells SC

The Centre has told the Supreme Court there cannot be any parity between the two Election Commissioners with the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) as far as their removal was concerned.

“The ECs may or may not be appointed based on the need of the Election Commission of India, which is to be determined by the President under Article 324 (1) of the Constitution whereas the CEC is permanent functionary whose appointment is mandated under Article 324 of the Constitution,” the law ministry stated.

In an affidavit to a PIL filed by Delhi BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, the Union government said there was no justification to equate the removal provision of the CEC with that of ECs. Notably, the CEC can be removed only as per the procedure prescribed for a Supreme Court judge.

The government further said in the T N Sheshan case (1993) the apex court said the ECs cannot be removed before the expiry of their term, except on the recommendation of the CEC. This ensures the independence of the ECs and no change is required in the existing regime, it said.

With regard to a plea for maintaining a separate secretariat for the Election Commission on the line of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and the Supreme Court, the government said the panel is an independent body, meant to implement the laws made by Parliament on conducting free and fair polls and it cannot be kept at par with Parliament or the Supreme Court.

On a plea for granting the power to the EC for making rules, the government said it was a legislative function and cannot be delegated.

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