West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday hailed the Supreme Court verdict on the appointment of Election Commissioners and Chief Election Commissioner and termed the order as “democratic victory”.
The Chief Minister further said that the will of the people prevails over the ill-fated attempts of the oppressive forces.
“Supreme Court’s landmark order is a democratic victory! We welcome the decision of the Constitution Bench on the appointment of Election Commissioners and Chief Election Commissioner. Will of the people prevails over the ill-fated attempts of the oppressive forces!” Banerjee said in a tweet.
Earlier in the day, the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court ordered a panel consists the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Justice of India for the selection of Commissioners in the Election Commission of India.
Appointment of an election commissioner shall be on the recommendation of a committee comprising the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, said the constitution bench of headed by Justice KM Joseph and also comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar.
The Election Commission has to be independent and it is duty-bound to act in a fair and legal manner and abide by the provisions of the Constitution and the directions of the Court said Justice Joseph during the pronouncement of the order.
Justice Joseph also added that the hallmark of a substantial and liberal democracy must be borne in mind, democracy is inextricably linked to the power of the people. The power of the ballot is supreme, capable of unseating the most powerful parties.
The apex court was hearing pleas challenging the constitutionality of the present appointment process of CEC and ECs and contended that appointments were being done as per the whims and fancies of the executive.
The petitions sought the creation of an independent collegium or selection committee for future appointments of CEC and two other ECs.
The petitions stated that unlike the appointments of the CBI director or Lokpal, where the leader of the Opposition and judiciary have a say, the Centre unilaterally appoints the members of the Election Commission.
On October 23, 2018, the apex court had referred PILs to the Constitution bench.
The Central government had said there is no disquieting feature in the appointment.
The bench had clarified that it was not questioning the merits of Arun Goel’s credentials, but the process.