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Business News/ Politics / News/  Centre defends new EC appointment law, says pleas seek 'political controversy’
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Centre defends new EC appointment law, says pleas seek 'political controversy’

Centre contested that the two CECs were appointed because ‘it would not have been humanly not possible for one to discharge functions alone’

The Supreme Court of India. (File) (HT_PRINT)Premium
The Supreme Court of India. (File) (HT_PRINT)

Centre on Wednesday registered its opposition to the pleas seeking stay on the new law for the panel selecting election commissioners. Under the new Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners Act, 2023, the selection panel has the prime minister as the chairperson, and the leader of opposition and a Union minister nominated by the prime minister are the two other members.

The Narendra Modi-led government has alleged that the pleas just seek to stir up a political controversy on “bare, unsupported and pernicious statements".

In an affidavit filed by Centre in the Supreme Court, the Live Law reported that the Union Ministry of Law has rejected the allegations of the petitioners claiming that Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu were ‘hastily’ appointed to pre-empt SC orders.

"To indicate, as the petitioners suggest, that selection committees without judicial members, would invariably be biased is wholly incorrect," the affidavit read.

"Where no question has been raised about the qualifications of candidates to hold a constitutional post nor has any material been brought on record to show that the candidates are unfit for office, no prima facie case can be said to have been made out. On that ground alone, the application for stay ought to be dismissed," the affidavit added.

Centre contested that the two CECs were appointed because "it would not have been humanly not possible for one to discharge functions alone" due the wide magnitude of Lok Sabha elections 2024.

The affidavit was a response to Congress leader Jaya Thakur and Association for Democratic Reforms' (ADR) plea against the Act.

The plea alleged that letting executive deal with the appointment of the EC members would be “detrimental to the health of democracy and the conduct of free and fair elections."

On Friday, the apex court refused to stay the appointment of new election commissioners under the 2023 law.

The two vacancies had arisen after the retirement of Anup Chandra Pandey on February 14 and the sudden resignation of Arun Goel. Retired IAS officers Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu were appointed in their place.

(With agency inputs)

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Published: 20 Mar 2024, 05:57 PM IST
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