Supreme Court, on Thursday (March 2), announced sweeping reforms in the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and election commissioners.
After questioning the government’s decision in selecting the election commissioners, Supreme Court said the commissioners will be appointed by the President of India based on the recommendations of the panel comprising the Prime Minister of India, the Leader of the opposition and the Chief Justice of India.
Currently, the President of India appoints the Chief Election Commissioner and commissioners based on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
The Supreme Court panel comprising Justices KM Joseph, Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar said, “Any process that seeks to improve the election process before this Court must be considered.”
“Elections should undoubtedly be fair and the buck stops with the Election Commission of India to ensure its purity is maintained,” said a five-judge Constitution bench.
Supreme Court said the Chief Election Commissioner should be appointed like the CBI director, who is appointed by the committee comprising the Prime Minister of India, the Leader of the Opposition, and the Chief Justice of India.
It is to be noted that several PILs were filed in the Supreme Court calling for reforms in the selection of Election commissioners. One of the PIL was filed by self-proclaimed activist and former AAP member, Prashant Bhushan. He filed a PIL in Supreme Court after the Center appointed Arun Goel as the Chief Election Commissioner.
Supreme Court even questioned the pace at which Goel was selected, Attorney general Venkataramani urged the SC to not make any observations on the issue.
When Prashant Bhushan tried to intervene, AG bluntly said, “Please hold your mouth for a while.”
Prashant Bhushan, while filing a PIL, called for a collegium-like system in election commissioner selection.
Despite knowing there has been severe criticism of the collegium system, Prashant Bhushan said the system was better than the government appointing judges.
After hearing arguments, Supreme Court reserved its judgment on November 24, 2022.
Now the Supreme Court has done exactly what he asked for.