February 18, 2024
SC Reviews Petitions Challenging Law Excluding CJI from Election Commissioner Panel
Courts & Law

SC Reviews Petitions Challenging Law Excluding CJI from Election Commissioner Panel

SC Reviews Petitions Challenging Law Excluding CJI from Election Commissioner Panel.image/daily excelsior

SC Reviews Petitions Challenging Law Excluding CJI from Election Commissioner Panel

The Supreme Court declined to grant a stay on the recently enacted law that authorizes the appointment of the chief election commissioner and election commissioners through a panel that excludes the Chief Justice of India. However, a bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta has agreed to review a set of petitions challenging this legislation and has issued a notice to the Centre.

During the proceedings, senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing Congress leader Jaya Thakur, who sought a stay on the law, was directed to provide a copy of the petition to the Centre’s counsel. Singh argued for the stay, asserting that the law infringes upon the separation of powers. Nevertheless, the bench responded that they cannot grant a stay without hearing the other side and decided to issue a notice instead.

Several petitions, including the one filed by Thakur, have been submitted to the apex court amidst a political controversy over the exclusion of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) from the panel responsible for selecting the chief election commissioner (CEC) and election commissioners (ECs).

Advocate Gopal Singh has also approached the Supreme Court, seeking the annulment of the new law, which grants extensive powers to the central government for appointments to the election body. Singh’s plea urges the apex court to direct the implementation of an “independent and transparent system of selection,” establishing a neutral and independent selection committee for the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners (CEC and ECs).

The newly enacted law specifies that the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners will be appointed by the President based on the recommendation of a Selection Committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, with the Leader of Opposition in the House of the People and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister as members. The opposition alleges that the Modi government has flouted the Supreme Court’s March 2023 order, which had stipulated that the Prime Minister, the leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha, and the CJI would jointly select the CEC and the ECs.

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