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There is not a single person in the panel of Law Ministry who can remain EC for 6 years: Supreme Court

New Delhi. The Supreme Court on Thursday said that none of the bureaucrats recommended by the Union Law Ministry to the Prime Minister to choose the Election Commissioner was capable of completing the six-year term prescribed in the Election Commission. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice KM Joseph wondered whether the government was not closing the doors to bright young candidates by appointing retired bureaucrats.

The bench said, “There is a law. We expect you to act in such a way that you will comply with statutory requirements. Why is it that you will have a ‘pool’ of retired bureaucrats and not others? Why only four names? Why not a bigger pool of candidates?” Justice Joseph said, “Aren’t you weeding out bright young candidates? It seems that you are adamant that no Chief Election Commissioner or Election Commissioner should get a full six-year term in the Commission and this is against the law. Under the Election Commission (Conditions of Service and Transaction of Business of the Election Commissioner) Act, 1991, the tenure of the Election Commissioner can be six years or till the age of 65 years.

The judge said this
Justice Joseph said the issue is that from a large pool of officers, the government has selected only those who are never going to complete their six-year term. “Why were the names sent to the Prime Minister and not to the Council of Ministers?” he asked. The bench also included Justice Ajay Rastogi, Justice Aniruddha Bose, Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice CT Ravikumar. The constitution bench made it clear that there should be no misconception that the court is against the government and it is only debating and discussing the issue.

bound by tradition
Attorney General R. Venkataramani replied, ‘Yes, my lord. This is a debate and I am bound to answer the questions of the court. If we start doubting every appointment, then the reputation of the institute should also be considered. Venkataramani said that the present system has been working for a long time and it is the tradition that is being followed. Justice Roy said the top court is struggling to find the reason and logic as to how these four names were selected by the law minister.

Tags: national news, supreme court

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