Selection of Election Commissioners
The supreme court has asked why there is no law on the appointment of Chief election Commissioner.
According to Supreme court leaving it entirely to the political executive would not ensure independence of the commission.
Supreme court reasserted that transparency is must in appointment of Chief Election Commissioner.
Article 324 (2) of Indian Constitution says:“The Election Commission shall consist of the Chief Election Commissioner and such number of other Election Commissioners, if any, as the President may from time to time fix and the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners shall, subject to the provisions of any law made in that behalf by Parliament, be made by the President.”
The article 324 (2) makes a case for bringing a law by parliament, and lay down a procedure in appointment of EC’s.
Without a Law and by present form of appointment of CEC and other EC’s by political executive, gives a chance for ruling party to appoint whose loyalty is ensured, thus making it vulnerable to manipulations and partisanship, which is violative of Article 14 of Indian Constitution.
Election Commission of India
The Election Commission of India is a permanent body which has been vested with the responsibility of directing and controlling the entire process of conducting elections.
The commission is known for upholding the principle of free and fair elections as mentioned in the Constitution.
Significance of Free and Fair:
- Free and fair elections are important because with a vote comes a voice.
- Free and fair elections and functioning electoral systems are the quintessence of democracy. Elections are used to "ensure popular support and legitimacy for those who make governmental decisions."
- In any State the authority of the government can only derive from the will ofthe people as expressed in genuine, free and fair elections held at regularintervals on the basis of universal, equal and secret suffrage.
- Free and fair elections are also an important step toward economic empowerment.
Appointment of Election Commissioners:
The President appoints Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.
They have tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only through impeachment by Parliament.
Structure of The Election Commission :
The commission presently consists of a Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners, appointed by the president.
Until October 1989, there was just one Chief Election Commissioner.
In 1989, two Election Commissioners were appointed, but were removed again in January 1990.
In 1991, however, the Parliament of India passed a law providing for the appointment of two Election Commissioners.
This law was amended and renamed in 1993 as the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Conditions of Service) Amendment Act 1993.
The Constitution does not prescribe any qualifications, academic or otherwise, for appointment to these offices.
However, by convention, only senior civil servants, either serving or retired, of the rank of the cabinet secretary or secretary to the Government of India or of an equivalent rank have been appointed as the Chief Election Commissioner and election commissioners so far.
In Bhagwati Prashad Dixit Ghorewala v. Rajiv Gandhi, it was contended that as the Chief Election Commissioner is placed at par with a judge of the Supreme Court in the matter of his removability from office under the Constitution, for his appointment also he should possess qualifications similar to that of a judge of the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court rejected. that contention.
Contemporary Criticism of EC :
In last, few days EC has been cruised or questions have been raised on following:
- EVM: Doubts have been raise on its functioning or transparency by few political parties
- Appointment of Chief Election Commissioner: accusations of his close association with the ruling party.
To End, if we look into the significance of Free and fair elections and as one responsible for it, the question raised by SC on the appointments of EC’s hold. The makers of constitution have left it on parliament to make laws regarding the appointment of EC’s to evolve the organization from time to time.
To ensure the faith of people in democratic setup, the parliament should pass the law for the appointment of EC’s. An independent Election commission is the very important for the functioning of democracy and people’s faith in it, it should not be a political tool as the other bodies like CBI have been criticized from time to time.