NEW DELHI: A day after the government announced Achal Kumar Jyoti as the next Chief Election Commissioner, the Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned Centre on the procedure to appoint poll panel heads and asking as to why no law was in place for such appointments.
The new CEC will assume charge from July 6.
A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud cited Article 324 of the Constitution which provides that the appointments of the CEC and the ECs can be made as per the enabling law, but the law has not been enacted so far.
Echoing for the transparency in appointments at the poll panel, the bench said, “Till now the appointments have been fair and transparent but we feel there is no procedure as such. The expectation is that Parliament will make the law. If the law has not been made then can the court lay down the procedures.”
“The Election Commission should have people neutral to all political parties, it said. Your (government) only explanation is that competent people have been appointed from time to time,” the bench asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, representing the Centre who opposed that it was Parliament to frame a law.
The bench also took note of the fact that till date names are decided by Prime Minister and his council of ministers on whose advise President appoints them as EC but at the same time there is need to have in place a law so that appointments happen in a fair and transparent manner.
The bench then slated the hearing after two months. Interestingly by then the present Chief Justice will remit his office and would be succeeded by Justice Dipak Misra.
The bench was hearing a PIL filed by one Anoop Paranwal seeking various reliefs, including that there should be a fair and transparent procedure for appointment of CEC and ECs.