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Independent Collegium : Supreme Court

Independent Collegium:

A petition was filed in the Supreme Court seeking the constitution of an independent collegium to appoint members of the Election Commission of India (ECI).

  • The petition was filed by the Association for Democratic Reforms.
  • The petition states that the present process of appointing members to the Election Commission, solely by the executive, is incompatible with Article 324(2) of the Constitution.
  • The appointment of members of Election Commission on the “pick and choose” of the executive violates the very foundation for which it was created, thus, making the Commission a branch of executive.
  • Democracy is a facet of the basic structure of the constitution and in order to ensure free and fair elections and to maintain healthy democracy in our country, the Election Commission should be insulated from political and/or executive interference.

Recommendations are given by various expert committees:

  • 255th Law Commission Report recommended that the appointment of all the Election Commissioner should be made by the President in consultation with a three-member collegium or selection committee, consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition of the Lok Sabha, and the Chief Justice of India.
  • 4th Report submitted by the Second Administrative Reform Commission in January 2007 also recommended for the constitution of a neutral and independent collegium headed by the Prime Minister with the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the Law Minister and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha as it’s members.
  • Dr. Dinesh Goswami Committee in its Report of May 1990 recommended for the effective consultation with neutral authorities like Chief Justice of India and the Leader of the Opposition for the appointment in Election Commission.
  • Justice Tarkunde Committee in its Report of 1975 recommended that the members of the Election Commission should be appointed by the President on the advice of a Committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and the Chief Justice of India.

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