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Business News/ News / India/  Supreme Court to hear pleas challenging Election Commission appointments on March 21
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Supreme Court to hear pleas challenging Election Commission appointments on March 21

The Supreme Court has agreed to review petitions against new election commissioners appointed under a 2023 law, objecting to the exclusion of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) from the selection panel.

Supreme Court of India. (PTI File Photo) (HT_PRINT)Premium
Supreme Court of India. (PTI File Photo) (HT_PRINT)

The Supreme Court has agreed to review on March 21 a series of petitions opposing the appointment of two new election commissioners under a law passed in 2023.

These petitions raise objections to the exclusion of the Chief Justice of India from the selection panel.

Earlier in the day, Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, both former bureaucrats, officially began their roles as election commissioners. Their appointments to the Election Commission were made on Thursday, marking first such appointments since the enactment of the new law regarding the selection of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and election commissioners.

Also Read: Pleas on Electoral bonds & EC appointments to come up in SC today

The Election Commission faced vacancies following the retirement of Anup Chandra Pandey on February 14 and the unexpected resignation of Arun Goel on March 8.

Gyanesh Kumar and Sandhu, both 1988-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers, hail from the Kerala and Uttarakhand cadres, respectively.

The Lok Sabha approved the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023 on December 21. The bill is designed to govern the appointment and terms of service for the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners.

Also Read: Congress' Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary slams ‘rigged’ EC selection: ‘Is it humanly possible…’

Notably, the bill caused uproar as it remChief Justice of India from the selection panel, which previously included the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. The decision sparked criticism from opposition members and brought attention to a Supreme Court ruling from March 2023.

The Supreme Court order had ruled that the appointment of CEC and ECs shall be made by the President on the basis of advice tendered by a committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha or leader of the largest Opposition party in the House, and the CJI.

The primary responsibility of the newly appointed election commissioners will be to ensure the smooth and successful conduct of the Lok Sabha election 2024 scheduled for April-May.

In March 2023, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and the Chief Justice of India must pick the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs).

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 15 Mar 2024, 01:32 PM IST
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