Let us Retain structural neutrality of EC chiefs

Let us Retain structural neutrality of EC chiefs

News: The article can be read in continuation of recent article on appointment of Election Commissioner which was covered recently. Please follow the link https://dics.co/current-affairs/the-chief-election-commissioner-andother-election-commissioners-bill-2023-upsc

• The Central government has proposed a three-member selection panel consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and a Union Cabinet Minister.
• However, it runs counter to a recent judgment of a Constitution Bench that envisaged an independent selection committee that included the Chief Justice of India.
• The verdict also aligned with the suggestions of the Dinesh Goswami Committee in 1990 and the Justice Tarkunde Committee in 1975. Government’s dominant role in the selection process will contradict the essence of the Court’s suggestions.

What is the importance of having an independent Election Commission?
• The Election Commission of India is a constitutional body with responsibilities for organizing fair elections. It performs quasi-judicial functions as well. Therefore, it’s reasonable that the selection process safeguards against excessive executive influence.
• The Election Commission of India has played a crucial role in facilitating periodic elections. However, prior to the 2019 general election, there was a one-month delay in announcing elections between February and March. The government inaugurated multiple projects during that time.
• The application of MCC has been uneven with allegations raised that it favours the ruling party.

What are the issues with the bill?
• The legislation permits the appointment committee to “govern its own process with transparency.” So, the methods employed by this committee are likely to remain undisclosed.
• The Selection Committee also retains the option to evaluate individuals beyond those initially listed by the Search Committee. This would grant the Selection Committee complete authority in determining the Election Commissioners.

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