Panel of PM, LoP, CJI to appoint CEC, ECs: SC verdict

New Delhi, Mar 2 :The Supreme Court on Thursday in its landmark verdict, ruled that a panel of Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and Chief Justice of India would make appointment to the post of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners until a law is put in place in this regard.

A five-judge bench led by Justice K M Joseph noted lacuna in the process of appointment poll panel under Article 324 of the Constitution, saying the EC should remain aloof from all sorts of interference by the Executive.

The Supreme Court passed the ruling on a batch of petitions were filed by Anoop Barnwal, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, NGO- Association for Democratic Reforms and Dr Jaya Thakur seeking an independent mechanism for appointment of CEC and ECs.

“The CEC and ECs will be selected by a panel comprising PM, LoP/leader of the single largest party & the CJI until parliament brings a law in this regard,” the Supreme Court said, in its ruling today.

“A vulnerable EC would result in insidious situation,” the bench said, adding democracy can succeed only if all stakeholders work on to maintain purity of the election process to reflect will of the people.

“A person in state of obligation to the State cannot have an independent frame of mind,” the bench added.

The five-judge, also comprising Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and C T Ravikumar passed the unanimous judgement.

Justice Rastogi, however, gave his own separate reasonings.

Justice Rastogi added the procedure to remove CEC should also apply to the removal of ECs. CEC can be removed only through impeachment.

“The founding fathers of the constitution left it for the Parliament to frame law for appointment of Chief Election commissioner and ECs but political dispensations betrayed the trust and the law has not framed in the last seven decades or so,” the Supreme Court said, in its verdict.

“The ECI is duty bound to act in free and fair manner, must act within the Constitutional framework and guidelines,” the Top Court also said in its ruling.

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