ANI Photo | Rajya Sabha passes bill on appointment of CEC, election commissioners; Opposition stages walkout

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 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 negatived.
The bill provides for the appointment, qualifications, Search Committee, Selection Committee, term of office, salary, resignation and removal, leave, pension of the Chief Election Commissioner and other election commissioners.
Meghwal said that 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 leader of the largest opposition party in the House and the Chief Justice of India. Meghwal said 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 brining 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 indpendence of Election Comission is sine quo non for democracy.
Other opposition members also opposed the bill. They later staged a walk out. BJD supported the bill.
The Bill will replace the Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991. (ANI)

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