ANI Photo | BJP wants Election Commission to operate as per government’s wish: Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury

Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, speaking on Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill 2023 passed in the Rajya Sabha, said on Wednesday that the BJP government wants Election Commission to operate as per the wish of the government.
“Like how they have gradually converted various institutions into party offices, they (BJP) want the Election Commission also to operate at the behest of the government. If they remain fair, it can get difficult for the government. This is nothing but one more attempt to weaken another constitutional body of the country,” said Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
On being asked what is the approach of Congress going to be, Chowdhury said, “We will oppose it (the Bill) and if needed we will approach the Supreme Court but this clearly indicates the ill intentions of the government.”
Congress MP and chief whip in the Lok Sabha, K Suresh says, “This Election Commission believes totally against the independency of the Election Commission, therefore the opposition strongly attacked the Election Commission amendment bill. It was discussed in the Rajya Sabha yesterday…In the Lok Sabha as well we are opposing it unanimously…”
The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed a bill to regulate the appointment and service terms of Chief Election Commissioner and election commissioners, with the opposition members strongly protesting against its provisions and staging a walkout.
The bill was passed after a reply by Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, who said that the Election Commission will continue to “work independently” and that the bill had been brought following a Supreme Court judgement.
The amendments moved by the opposition parties to the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023, were negated.
The bill provides for the appointment, qualifications, Search Committee, Selection Committee, term of office, salary, resignation and removal, leave, and pension of the Chief Election Commissioner and other election commissioners.
Meghwal said that the Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991 does not contain provisions regarding the qualifications, search committee for preparing a panel of persons for consideration and recommendation by the Selection Committee for appointment as CEC and election commissioners.
The Supreme Court, in a writ petition, declared 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 the leader of the largest opposition party in the House and the Chief Justice of India. Meghwal said the judgment had noted that the norm provided by the Supreme Court will continue to hold good till a law is made by the Parliament.
“We are bringing the law for this purpose,” he said.
Participating in the debate, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said the bill does not pass “constitutional muster”. “It is manifestly arbitrary; its intent is disastrous and the result is disastrous,” he said.
The Congress leader said that the independence of the Election Commission is sine quo non for democracy.
Other opposition members also opposed the bill. They later staged a walkout. BJD supported the bill.
The Bill will replace the Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991

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