PIL filed in SC challenges legislation by Parliament on appointment of CEC, ECs
New Delhi, Jan 2 (IANS) A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking an injunction against the implementation of the Chief Election Commissioner and the other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Condition of Service and Term of Office) Act, 2023 — which excludes the Chief Justice of India from the process of appointment of top officials of the Election Commission.
The plea challenges the recent gazette notification issued by the Union Ministry of Law and Justice providing that the CEC and the ECs will be appointed by the President of India on the recommendation of a Selection Committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and a Union Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Prime Minister.
The petition filed by a Noida-based lawyer seeks a direction to the Union of India for implementing an independent and transparent system of selection constituting a neutral and independent selection committee for appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and other Election Commissioners (ECs).
Further, it seeks directions to set aside the gazette notification issued by the Union government on December 28, 2023 and to include the Chief Justice of India in the selection committee for the appointment of the CEC and ECs.
“The plea, filed through advocate Sanjeev Malhotra, said: “The pivotal legal question…revolves around the constitutional inquiry of whether the Parliament or any legislative assembly possesses the authority to promulgate a gazette notification or ordinance to nullify or amend a judgment previously rendered by this Hon’ble (Supreme) Court, particularly when the judgment emanates from a Constitution Bench.”
In March last year, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had held that the appointment of top officials of the Election Commission shall be done by the President on the advice of a panel comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition (LoP) and the Chief Justice of India.
“We declare that the appointment of the CEC and the other ECs shall be made on the recommendations made by a three-member Committee comprising the Prime Minister, LoP of the Lok Sabha and in case no LoP is available, the Leader of the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha in terms of numerical strength and the Chief Justice of India,” said the apex court, clarifying that its guidelines shall be in effect until Parliament makes a law in consonance with Article 324(2) of the Constitution.