Election of the Prime Minister, the leader of all and the elected Election Commissioner of the Chief Justice Committee, the decision of the Supreme Court

The Election Supreme Court on Thursday delivered its verdict on petitions seeking to create a collegium-like system for the appointment of the Chief Commissioner (CEC) and Commissioners (EC). A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice KM Joseph said in its judgment that a committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha or the leader of the largest opposition party and the Chief Justice of India would select the Chief Election Commissioner and  Commissioners.

However, the right of appointment will remain with the President. The bench comprises Justice Ajay Rastogi, Justice Aniruddha Bose, Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice CT Ravikumar. The bench had reserved its judgment on the issue on November 24 last year.

Earlier, the apex court had questioned the haste shown by the Center in appointing former bureaucrat Arun Goel as  Commissioner, saying his file was passed through departments with lightning speed in 24 hours. However, the central government strongly opposed the observations of the apex court. Attorney General R Venkataramani had argued that the entire matter relating to his appointment needed to be looked at in its entirety.

The top court had asked how the Union Law Minister chose a panel of four names recommended to the Prime Minister for appointment as  Commissioners when none of them has completed the prescribed six-year term in office. The tenure of the Election Commission under the Election Commission Act, 1991 is applicable for six years or till the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

The Supreme Court had interfered with the Election appointment of Arun Goel as the Election Commissioner. The court had sought original records relating to the appointment of Arun Goel as the Election Commissioner. The top court had questioned the central government as to how Arun Goyal was appointed as the Election Commissioner. The bench had said that it only wanted to understand the system.

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