The Supreme Court of India took major steps to ‘maintain transparency’ in the election process. On Thursday, the Supreme Court said that a committee will appoint the election commissioners in the country. The Chief Justice of the country, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition will be members of this committee. Many are considering this action of the Supreme Court as ‘historic’. News from NDTV.
A five-member constitution bench headed by Supreme Court Justice KM Joseph gave the landmark verdict yesterday. The Center has been directed to enact appropriate legislation in this regard. Until that happens, this new rule set by the Supreme Court will remain in force, the verdict said.
The Supreme Court while ruling in this regard said that the role of Election Commissioners is very important to complete the election process across the country. In the changed circumstances, the three-member committee will recommend the names of new election commissioners. The president will appoint the commissioners based on that.
A constitution bench of Justices KM Joseph, Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar unanimously said that this decision is in the interest of transparency. Elections should be free in a democracy. That is the commission’s responsibility. It is their job to protect the sanctity of elections. Election commissioners should be appointed in the same way as CBI chief is appointed. In the current system, the election commissioners are appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister. Their term of office is six years. Former bureaucrats of the country are usually chosen for this position. This time the President will make the appointment following the recommendation of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice.
So far the three-member Election Commission was formed only on the recommendation of the government. Following the Prime Minister’s recommendation, the President appointed the Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners. For the sake of transparency of the electoral process, several public interest cases were filed in the Supreme Court to cancel this practice. Opposition parties, whether Congress or BJP, have at various times claimed that bureaucrats close to the government are being made election commissioners.
The petitioners claimed that it is necessary to change the engagement process for the transparency of the elections.
If this judgment is implemented, the Election Commission will get an independent secretariat. Can make rules independently. Can create their own budget independently. Don’t have to wait for the government for funding. It will have the power to withdraw money directly from the central treasury.
In the 1990s, Chief Election Commissioner TN Sessions set the standard and impartiality of the Commission at a high level, which was not maintained later. Lately, the opposition leaders have accused the commission of ultimate bias towards the ruling party. Recently, the Election Commission has come under severe criticism from the opposition for handing over the Shiv Sena’s name and symbol to the angry Shinde group. The Uddhav group termed the commission as ‘slaves and slaves’. There have been many allegations of hate speech in election campaigns over the last 10 years. The opposition made the same complaint against the Prime Minister and the Home Minister. The commission did not find any fault in their speech.