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Supreme Court Declines Stay on Chief Election Commissioner Selection Process

Supreme Court of India

Last Updated on March 24, 2024 by News Desk

Introduction:


The Supreme Court has issued an order regarding the batch of pleas seeking a stay on the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners Act, 2023. This Act removes the Chief Justice of India from the selection panel appointing election commissioners. The Court’s decision comes after a detailed consideration of the matter, balancing the urgency of the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections and the procedural concerns raised by the petitioners.

Issue:


The primary issue before the Court was whether to grant a stay on the implementation of the Act, considering its potential impact on the forthcoming elections and the procedural irregularities alleged by the petitioners.

Rule:


The Court referred to the Constitution Bench judgment in Anoop Baranwal v. Union of India, which established the Selection Committee as a temporary measure until a law regarding the appointment of Election Commissioners was enacted by the Parliament. It emphasized that interim orders should be reserved for exceptional circumstances and that judicial restraint must be exercised in matters concerning the constitutional validity of legislation.

Analysis:


While expressing concerns over the procedure followed by the Centre in appointing two new Election Commissioners, the Court noted that the merits of the appointed officers were not questioned by the petitioners. It also acknowledged the importance of maintaining a balance and check in the functioning of the Election Commission, particularly with the presence of the newly appointed commissioners.

Conclusion:


Ultimately, the Court declined to grant a stay on the Act, citing the impending Lok Sabha Elections and the potential disruption that a stay order could cause. However, it highlighted the need for procedural integrity in the selection process of Election Commissioners. The decision reflects a delicate balance between the urgency of electoral processes and the principles of procedural fairness and constitutional validity.

Written by — Athi Venkatesh AVD

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