SC to Consider Listing of Congress Leader’s Plea Challenging New ECs Appointment by Centre


The Supreme Court on Monday stated that it would consider submission for early listing of a petition seeking to restrain the Central Government from appointing new election commissioners (ECs) as per a 2023 law, the provisions of which have already been challenged in the top court.

“Send an email. We will see,” remarked the bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud along with Justices JB Pardiwla and Manoj Misra.

Following the resignation of Election Commissioner Arun Goel and the retirement of Anup Chandra Pandey, two vacancies of election commissioners have emerged.

The petition has been filed by Congress leader Jaya Thakur, who disputes the provisions of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service, and terms of office) Act, 2023.

Thakur informed the court in her application that amidst the pendency of her plea, where a notice was issued on January 12, “one member of the Election Commission, namely Arun Goel, tendered resignation on March 9, 2024, which has been accepted by the President.”

“The petitioner respectfully submits that in light of the impending Lok Sabha Election 2024, the appointment of new election commissioners is urgently required. The court has given a clear verdict on the appointment process in the case of ‘Anoop Baranwal Versus Union of India’ (March 2, 2023 verdict),” the plea stated.

“It is, therefore, prayed that this Court may kindly direct the respondents to promptly appoint the member of the Election Commission of India, in accordance with the judgments passed by this court in the case of Anoop Baranwal Versus Union of India,” it added.

The plea sought a directive to “restrain the Respondents from appointing the member as per Section 7 and 8 of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service, and terms of office) Act, 2023.”

As per the new law, “Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of a Selection Committee consisting of — (a) the Prime Minister — Chairperson; (b) the Leader of Opposition in the House of the People — Member; (c) a Union Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Prime Minister — Member.” The opposition has accused the Modi government of defying the Supreme Court by excluding the CJI from the selection panel.

In its March 2023 ruling, the Apex Court had stated that the prime minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and the CJI would choose the CEC and the ECs.

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