The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre why there were no laws to ensure fair appointments to the posts of election commissioners in the poll panel. However, the bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar acknowledged that the appointments made so far had been “fair and transparent”.
The apex court’s comments came a day after Achal Kumar Joti was appointed the chief election commissioner. Joti will take over from Nasim Zaidi on Thursday.
The bench questioned the Centre on hearing a Public Interest Litigation from 2015. The petitioner wants a committee – comprising the leader of Opposition and the chief justice of India – to be set up to appoint election commissioners. The PIL alleged that the Centre’s process was “discriminatory” and violated the law.
“It is important to set norms so that appointments are made in a transparent and fair manner,” the Supreme Court observed, adding that this was important to “ensure free and fair elections”, The Times of India reported.
The judges also noted that as per Article 324 of the Constitution, appointments of chief election commissioners and election commissioners must be made under the a law – one that has not been enacted so far.
“The expectation is that Parliament will make the law,” the bench said. “As the law has not been made, can the court lay down the procedures?
At present, the prime minister and his council of ministers decide the candidates. The president appoints the commissioner on their advise.