Supreme Court Slams Centre over Short Tenures of Chief Election Commissioners

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New Delhi, Nov 23, 2022: Supreme court on Tuesday raised questions regarding the mechanism adopted by the centre all these years pertaining to the appointment of the election commissioner.

The five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice KM Joseph asked Attorney General R Venkatramani to respond on Wednesday as to what process the government has been employing to appoint an election commissioner.

The court pointed towards the fact that since 2004, no chief election commissioner has completed the six-year tenure during the 10-year UPA government as six CECs were appointed during their regime.

Meanwhile, there have been eight CECs during eight years of the NDA government rule.

The court pointed out Article 324 of the Constitution, which expounds upon the appointment of election commissioners, and stated that it does not provide the procedure for such appointments. Moreover, the section had envisaged the enactment of a law by Parliament in this regard, which has not been done in the last 72 years that has translated into exploitation.

“Looking at the list of the chief election commissioners since 2004, the majority of them do not have more than two years’ tenure. As per law, they have fixed a tenure of six years or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. Most of them were former bureaucrats and the government knew about their age. They were appointed at such a point that they were never able to complete six years and had a truncated tenure,” the bench said to Attorney General R Venkataramani, who appeared in the matter on behalf of the Centre.

“The Constituent Assembly, which had different models before it, had adopted this model and now, the court cannot say that the present model needs consideration… There is no provision of the Constitution in this regard which requires interpretation,” Venkatramani said.

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