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Supreme Court Rules on Appointment of Chief Election Commissioner

Relevance: GS 2, Indian Polity

The Supreme Court of India has restricted the government’s power to appoint the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners, ruling that they will be appointed on the advice of a committee consisting of the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and the Chief Justice of India.

 

Here are some key facts and cases related to this ruling:

  • The decision was made by a five-judge Constitution bench, presided by Justice K M Joseph, which partly allowed a batch of petitions seeking an independent mechanism for the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.
  • The ruling stated that the appointment to the post of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners shall be done by the President of India on the advice of the committee mentioned above.
  • The court also clarified that this rule will hold good until a law is made by Parliament on the appointment, conditions of service, and tenure of these officials.
  • The Constitution’s Article 324(2) states that the CEC and ECs shall be appointed by the President, with the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, until Parliament enacts a law fixing the criteria for selection, conditions of service, and tenure.
  • Justice Rastogi, who also gave a separate concurring opinion, suggested that the protection available for the removal of CEC should also apply to that of Election Commissioners, stating that it is imperative to shield the appointment of Election Commissioners from executive interference to maintain neutrality and independence of the Election Commission.

This landmark ruling by the Supreme Court ensures that the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners will be done through an independent mechanism and free from any executive interference.

 

It upholds the neutrality and independence of the Election Commission, which is crucial for holding free and fair elections in India.

 

Summary of Supreme Court’s Ruling on Appointment of Chief Election Commissioner:

  • A committee consisting of PM, LoP, and CJI will appoint Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.
  • This rule will hold good until a law is made by Parliament.
  • Article 324(2) states that CEC and ECs shall be appointed by the President, with aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, until Parliament enacts a law fixing the criteria for selection, conditions of service, and tenure.
  • Justice Rastogi suggested extending the protection available for the removal of CEC to Election Commissioners as well.

CEC and ECs appointed by Committee of PM, LoP, and CJI until Parliament enacts a law. CEC and ECs appointed by President with aid and advice of Council of Ministers until then. Justice Rastogi suggests extending protection to ECs.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Supreme Court's Ruling on Appointment of Chief Election Commissioner:

The Supreme Court has ruled that a committee comprising of the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and the Chief Justice of India will appoint the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.

The current ruling by the Supreme Court will hold good until Parliament enacts a law on the appointment, conditions of service, and tenure of CEC and ECs.

Article 324(2) of the Constitution states that the CEC and ECs shall be appointed by the President, with aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, until Parliament enacts a law fixing the criteria for selection, conditions of service, and tenure.

Justice Rastogi suggested extending the protection available for the removal of Chief Election Commissioner to the Election Commissioners as well.

This ruling ensures that the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners will be done through an independent mechanism and free from any executive interference, upholding the neutrality and independence of the Election Commission, which is crucial for holding free and fair elections in India.

March 2024
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