Plea in SC to protect Election Commissioners from removal

Plea in SC to protect Election Commissioners from removal
Plea in SC to protect Election Commissioners from removal

A petition has been moved in the Supreme Court seeking constitutional protection to Election Commissioners (ECs) by bringing their removal procedure on par with that of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC).

The PIL has also sought direction to the Centre to provide an independent secretariat to the Election Commission of India (ECI) and declare its expenditure as charged from the Consolidated Fund of India.

The plea filed by Delhi BJP spokesperson and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay has sought directions to the Centre to take appropriate steps to confer rule-making authority status on the ECI, similar to the powers vested in the apex court, to empower it to make election-related rules and code of conduct.

The ECI is a permanent constitutional body established in 1950 and consists of the CEC and two Election Commissioners.

The CEC and the ECs have a tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier, and enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Judges of the Supreme Court of India.

However, the CEC can be removed from office only through impeachment by Parliament but Article 324(5) does not provide similar protection to the ECs. It merely says that the ECs cannot be removed from office except on the recommendation of the CEC.

“To provide same and similar protection to both the Election Commissioners so that they shall not be removed from their office except in the like manner and on the like grounds as the Chief Election Commissioner.

“The CEC and the ECs enjoy the same decision-making powers which is suggestive of the fact that their powers are at par with each other. However, Article 324(5) does not provide similar protection to the ECs and it merely says that the ECs cannot be removed from office except on the recommendation of the CEC,” the petition said.

The petition also pointed out that the protection granted to the CEC was to ensure autonomy to the ECI from external pressure.

“However, rationale behind not affording similar protection to ECs is not explicable. The element of independence sought to be achieved under the Constitution is not exclusively for an individual alone but for the institution.

“Hence, autonomy to the ECI can only be strengthened if the ECs are also provided with the similar protection as that of the CEC,” it added.

( Source – PTI )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *