Mumbai: After the Centre introduced a Bill that excludes the Chief Justice of India from the selection panel for Election Commissioners (ECs), West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee criticized the Centre.
“Amidst calls to bow down to the judiciary, the @BJP4India instead bows to anarchy! The CJI’s role in the 3-member committee for selecting the CEC is crucial. We strongly oppose replacing the CJI with a cabinet minister in the EC selection. The discomfort suggests their vote manipulation could suffer”, said the Bengal CM on Twitter.
Further, she added that India must question this blatant disregard for the judiciary. “Are they aiming to turn the Judiciary into a minister-run kangaroo court? We pray to the Judiciary for India. My Lord, save our country”, said Banerjee.
Notably, opposition parties vehemently opposed the introduction of a Bill to control the appointment, terms of service, and terms of office of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
The Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023, was proposed by Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal. The Bill also addresses the Election Commission’s commercial transaction process.
The Bill proposes that the Election Commissioners will be appointed by the President on the recommendation of a panel comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister.
The panel will be led by the prime minister. If the Bill becomes law, the Supreme Court’s March 2023 ruling that the President must choose election commissioners on the recommendation of a committee made up of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, and the Chief Justice of India will be overturned.
However, in its judgment, the apex court had held that the procedure underlined by it would hold till a law is enacted by Parliament. The proposed bill has evoked a sharp reaction from opposition parties.