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Why No Transparent Procedure For Appointing CEC & Election Commissioners? SC to Centre

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
5 July 2017 7:43 AM GMT
Why No Transparent Procedure For Appointing CEC & Election Commissioners? SC to Centre
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The Supreme Court today posed several pointed questions to the Centre regarding the lack of proper procedure for appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud was hearing a plea filed by one Anoop Baranwal and argued by noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan seeking a direction to the Centre to constitute a...

The Supreme Court today posed several pointed questions to the Centre regarding the lack of proper procedure for appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.

A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud was hearing a plea filed by one Anoop Baranwal and argued by noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan seeking a direction to the Centre to constitute a "neutral and independent selection committee" to recommend names for the post of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.

The bench agreed to Centre's argument that outstanding people who maintained neutrality have been appointed so far but there was a lack of procedure which parliament was ought to have laid down.The bench even wondered why it cannot step in and give some direction when there was a lacunae.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar for Centre opposed the courts intervention saying the practice in vogue of PM and President electing them was satisfactory.

But the bench was not convinced and said it will hear the PIL in detail later.

The bench asked why parliament could not enact law to install an independent collegium for selecting ECs.
This is a legitimate expectation to maintain neutrality free from executive's clutches, Bhushan argued and the bench endorsed the view.

"If there is a formal law and panel to select CBI chief then why not for CEC and ECs ?" asked the bench.

The plea has sought a direction to Centre "to make law for ensuring a fair, just and transparent process of selection by constituting a neutral and independent collegium/ selection committee to recommend the name for the appointment of member to the Election Commission".

It also sought direction to the Centre for constituting "an interim neutral and independent collegium/selection committee to recommend the names for the appointment on the vacant post of members to the Election Commission".

The plea alleged that the Centre's practice in appointing the member of Election Commission was discriminatory and violative of law, which obligate executive/legislature to make law for ensuring a fair, just and transparent selection process for Election Commission.

"The practice of appointing the member to the Election Commission without making law for a fair, just and transparent process of selection by constituting an independent and neutral collegium/selection committee to recommend the name, is in violation of Article 14 and 324(2) of the Constitution of India and is in vogue continuously since adoption of the Constitution," the plea said.

"Under the Constitution of India, the independence and integrity of the Election Commission is of paramount importance for ensuring a free and fair election to strengthen and maintain the life of the democracy," it said, adding that in the absence of a proper law, "the independence and the integrity of the Commission is being jeopardized and thus public injury is being caused.

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