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Judiciary

SC refuses to stay new law on appointment of CEC and ECs

By Jhanak Singh      14 February, 2024 06:59 PM      0 Comments
SC refuses to stay new law on appointment of CEC and ECs

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to interfere with impending appointment of two Election Commissioners in accordance with a new law.

The court declined to stay the operation of the new law for appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners by a panel which does not include the Chief Justice of India.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta, however, issued notice to the Centre on a plea filed by an NGO, Association for Democratic Reforms.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the NGO, contended before the bench that the law is contrary to the Constitution bench judgment of the apex court which had directed for including the CJI on the panel that would appoint the CEC and ECs.

He contended that two Election Commissioners are about to superannuate, and if the operation of the law is not stayed, the plea will become infructuous.

“Sorry, we cannot grant you interim relief in the matter. The matter of constitutional validity never becomes infructuous,” the bench told Bhushan.

However, the counsel insisted for an interim stay on the law.

“We know our parameters for granting interim relief," the bench said.

The court listed the matter, along with other pending petitions on the issue, for hearing in April.

The plea said the law was enacted in 2023 in order to fill the vacuum under Article 324(2) of the Constitution.

“However, the impugned section restores the earlier position of law i.e. appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioner would be done solely by the executive," the plea said.

On January 12, the court had similarly declined to stay operation of the new law.

Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jaya Thakur and one Sanjay Narayanrao Meshram filed a plea challenging validity of the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Terms of Office) Act, 2023.

The petitioners claimed the law was contrary to the principles laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of 'Anoop Baranwal Versus Union of India'.

In its judgment on March 2, 2023, the Supreme Court's Constitution bench had declared that the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners would be made by the President on advice of a panel, comprising Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and Chief Justice of India until a law is put in place in this regard.



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