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A petition was filed in the Supreme Court regarding the appointment of members of the Election Commission of India through the collegium system.

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A petition was filed in the Supreme Court regarding the appointment of members of the Election Commission of India through the collegium system.

A petition was filed in the Supreme Court regarding the appointment of members of the Election Commission of India through the collegium system.

  • Recently a petition was filed in the Supreme Court. This petition demanded that an independent collegium be set up to appoint members of the Election Commission of India- ECI. It is to be noted that this petition was filed by an NGO named ‘Association for Democratic Reforms’.

Independent Collegium required:

  • The petition stated that the present process of appointing members of the Election Commission by the Executive in all respects does not coincide with Article-324 (2) of the Constitution, i.e., it is inconsistent with the Constitution.
  • On the basis of the appointment of the members of the Election Commission by the Executive i.e. ‘pick and choose’ (Election as per their choice), the Election Commission remains a mere associate of the Executive.
  • Democracy is the main feature of our country, in order to ensure free and fair elections and to maintain healthy democracy in our country, an independent Election Commission, which is free from political and executive interference, is urgently needed.

Recommendations of various expert committees:

  • The 255th report of the Law Commission recommended that the Election Commissioners should be appointed by the President in consultation with a three-member collegium and that the three-member collegium would consist of the Prime Minister, the Leader-Opposition in the LokSabha and the Chief Justice of India.
  • A fourth report was submitted by the Second Administrative Reforms Commission in January It also recommended the formation of a neutral and independent collegium. It also said that a collegium headed by a Prime Minister should be constituted, which should include the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the Law Minister, and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha as members.
  • In May 1990, Dr. Dinesh Goswami Committee also recommended in its report that for appointment to the Election Commission, neutral officials like Chief Justice and Leader of Opposition should be consulted.
  • In 1975, Justice Tarkunde Committee recommended in its report that members of the Election Commission should be appointed by the President in consultation with a committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and the Chief Justice of India.

Current system of appointment:

  • At present, there is no procedure laid down within the constitution for the appointment of ‘Chief Election Commissioner’ and other Election Commissioners.
  • As per tradition, the appointment of ‘Chief Election Commissioner’ and other Election Commissioners is done by the President on the basis of the recommendation of the Prime Minister. Their appointment comes under the executive powers of the President.
  • According to Article-324 (5) of the Constitution, The Parliament enjoys the power to regulate the terms and conditions of service of the Election Commission.

Source: Indian Express

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