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SC Questions Centre on Procedure to Appoint Election Commission Chief

The top court’s observation came a day after Achal Kumar Joti was appointed to succeed Nasim Zaidi as the poll panel’s chief

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:July 5, 2017, 12:45 PM IST
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned the Centre on the procedure to appoint the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners, asking why no law or statute was in place to guide such appointments.

The top court’s observation came a day after Achal Kumar Joti was appointed to succeed Nasim Zaidi as the poll panel’s chief.

A bench comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud said that Article 324 of the Constitution provides that the appointments of the CEC and the ECs be made as per the enabling law, but the law has not been enacted so far.

The Election Commission should have people neutral to all political parties, it said. “Parliament has not made any law. Your (government’s) only explanation is that competent people have been appointed from time to time.”

"The expectation is that Parliament will make the law. If the law has not been made then can the court lay down the procedures," the bench asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, representing the Centre.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by one Anoop Paranwal through lawyer Prashant Bhushan seeking various reliefs, including that there should be a fair and transparent procedure for appointment of CEC and ECs, PTI reported.

The PIL has referred to the independent procedure of appointment of judges in the higher judiciary and said that similar kind of procedures may be laid down with regard to the appointments of CEC and ECs in the poll panel.

Joti, 64, was the chief secretary of Gujarat when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the state’s Chief Minister. He will take over as the head of the Election Commission on July 6.

| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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