Congress member Jaya Thakur has filed a plea before the Supreme Court seeking to prevent the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government from appointing election commissioners as per a law passed last year, Live Law reported.

Thakur sought directions to the Centre not to appoint election commissioners as per the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and terms of office) Act, 2023. She made the demand as her petition challenging the provisions of the law is pending before the court.

Two vacancies have recently been created in the constitutional poll body’s three-member executive arm after one election commissioner, Arun Goel, resigned and another one, Anup Chandra Pandey, retired.

The Union law ministry announced Goel’s resignation on Saturday, but did not specify why he stepped down.

Pandey retired from his post on February 14. This leaves the Election Commission with just one member – Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar – with elections to the Lok Sabha just around the corner.

The Supreme Court is yet to rule on the validity of the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Act, 2023, which has been criticised for excluding the chief justice of India from a panel tasked with selecting India’s election commissioners.

In March 2023, the Supreme Court, in the case of Anoop Baranwal Versus Union of India, formed a selection committee consisting of the prime minister, the leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the chief justice of India, until Parliament came up with a law on choosing election commissioners. Thakur, in her petition, has demanded that the new election commissioners be appointed as per this judgement.

The Congress member argued that the Act violates the principle of free and fair elections since it does not provide an independent mechanism for appointing the members of the poll body.

Also read: Election Commissioner Arun Goel’s resignation is latest in a series of red flags for Election Commission under Modi