A new Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday to replace the Chief Justice of India (CJI) in the selection panel for appointment of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Elections Commissioners (ECs).
So far, as per a Supreme Court order, the selection committee had three members — the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition of Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice.
The government today moved the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023, in the Upper House in order to replace the CJI with a Union minister, nominated by the Prime Minister.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court had said the Selection Committee for the appointment of CEC and ECs will have Prime Minister, LoP Lok Sabha and CJI, unless a law is made by Parliament.
The Bill also proposed that the CEC and other ECs will be appointed from amongst persons who are holding or have held a post equivalent to the rank of secretary to the government and will be people of integrity, who have knowledge of and experience in managing and conducting elections.
The Search Committee will be headed by the Cabinet Secretary and will have two other members not below the rank of Secretary to the government, having knowledge and experience in matters relating to elections. They will prepare a panel of five persons for consideration of the Selection Committee, for appointment as the Chief Election Commissioner.
“The Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of a Selection Committee consisting of (a) the Prime Minister-Chairperson; (b) the Leader of Opposition in the House of the People-Member, and (c) a Union Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Prime Minister-Member,” the Bill reads.
It also said if the Leader of Opposition has not been recognised as such, the leader of the single largest party in opposition of the government in Lok Sabha will be deemed to be the Leader of Opposition.
The bill also said the appointment of CEC and the ECs will not be invalid merely by reason of any vacancy in or any defect in the constitution of the selection committee.
WHAT THE SC ORDER SAID
In March, the Supreme Court passed an order saying the CEC and ECs will be appointed by the President on the advice of a committee that will have the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and CJI.
The five-judge constitution bench, headed by Justice KM Joseph, in the unanimous verdict, also said this norm will continue to hold good till a law on the issue is made by Parliament.
The bench that was delivering the verdict on a batch of pleas seeking a collegium-like system for the appointment of CEC and ECs also said if the LoP is not there, then the leader of the single largest party in Parliament will be included in the collegium.
source by : news 18
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