Committee of Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and Chief Justice will elect Election Commissioner, decision of SC

Khushbu Kumari Jha
Supreme Court
Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Thursday delivered its verdict on petitions seeking to create a collegium-like system for the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (EC).

The Supreme Court on Thursday delivered its verdict on petitions seeking to create a collegium-like system for the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (EC). A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice KM Joseph said in its judgment that a committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha or the leader of the largest opposition party and the Chief Justice of India would select the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners. However, the right of appointment will remain with the President.ย 

The fairness of the Election Commission is most important

Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice CT Ravikumar. The bench had reserved its judgment on the issue on November 24 last year. The Supreme Court, in a unanimous verdict, emphasized on ensuring fairness in election processes, saying that democracy is linked to the will of the people. The constitution bench said that democracy is fragile and rhetoric on rule of law can be harmful to it. The court said that in a democracy, fairness should be maintained in elections, otherwise it would have disastrous consequences. The Court observed that the Election Commission of India (ECI) is bound to function in an independent and impartial manner and must function within the constitutional framework. Otherwise it will have disastrous consequences. The Court observed that the Election Commission of India (ECI) is bound to function in an independent and impartial manner and must function within the constitutional framework.

Why did the question emerge on the appointment of the Election Commissioner?

Questioning the haste shown by the Center in appointing commissioners, he had said that his file passed through departments at lightning speed in 24 hours. However, the central government strongly opposed the observations of the apex court. Attorney General R Venkataramani had argued that the entire matter relating to his appointment needed to be looked at in its entirety. The central government had strongly opposed the observations of the apex court. Attorney General R Venkataramani had argued that the entire matter relating to his appointment needed to be looked at in its entirety. The central government had strongly opposed the observations of the apex court. Attorney General R Venkataramani had argued that the entire matter relating to his appointment needed to be looked at in its entirety.

How come a panel of four names recommended to the prime minister for appointment as commissioners was chosen when none of them has completed the prescribed six-year term in office? The tenure of the Election Commission under the Election Commission Act, 1991 is applicable for six years or till the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

The court had sought original records relating to the appointment of Arun Goel as the Election Commissioner. The top court had questioned the central government as to how Arun Goyal was appointed as the Election Commissioner. The bench had said that it only wanted to understand the system.

How was the election commissioner appointed till now?

The Election Commissioner is appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. It is generally seen that this recommendation gets the approval of the President. Because of this, questions have been raised regarding the appointment of the Election Commissioner. The Election Commissioner has a fixed tenure, in which retirement is given after 6 years or depending on his age (whichever is higher). The maximum age of retirement as an Election Commissioner has been fixed at 65 years. That is, if someone becomes the Election Commissioner at the age of 62, then he will have to leave this post after three years.

How is the Election Commissioner removed?

Apart from retirement and completion of term, the Election Commissioner can also resign before the term and can also be removed. Parliament has the power to remove them. The Election Commissioner is paid the same salary and allowances as the judges of the Supreme Court.