The Modi government is going to introduce a bill Parliament to govern the appointment and conditions of service of Elections Commissioners, including the Chief Election Commissioner.
Minister of State for Law & Justice Arjun Ram Meghwal moved the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023 in the Rajya Sabha today.
The bill comes in the wake of a recent Supreme Court judgment that had noted the legal vacuum as regards appointment of Election Commissioners.
The Bill prescribes that the selection committee for Chief Elections Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs) will be chaired by the Prime Minister (PM) and will also consist of a Union Cabinet Minister and the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha.
The Supreme Court judgment dated March 2, 2023 had said that until the Central government comes up with a law on appointments to the ECI, the appointments should be done on the advice of a committee comprising the PM, Chief Justice of India (CJI) and the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha.
A Constitution Bench of Justices KM Joseph, Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar had also asked the central government to consider establishing a permanent secretariat for the Election Commission and also that its expenditure is charged to the Consolidated Fund of India, so that the poll body can be truly independent.
The Court had emphasized that an Election Commission which does not ensure free and fair polls as per the rules of the game, guarantees the breakdown of the foundation of the rule of law.
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