New Delhi, Oct 23 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday referred to a Constitution Bench a plea seeking formation of a collegium for appointing the Chief Election Commissioner and election commissioners.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjay Krishan Kaul referred the matter to a constitution bench as it involved the interpretation of Article 324 of the Constitution that deals with appointments to the election watchdog.
The court referred the matter to the constitution bench as it noted the plea for having a "full-proof and better system of appointment of members of the Election Commission."
Referring to the submissions by the Attorney General K.K. Venugopal and counsel Prashant Bhushan, the bench said, "We are of the view that the matter may require a close look and interpretation of the provisions of Article 324 of the Constitution. The issue has not been debated and answered by this Court earlier."
Referring to Article 145 (3) of the Constitution that requires the court to refer such matters to a constitution bench, the court said: "We, accordingly, refer the question arising in the present proceedings to a Constitution Bench for an authoritative pronouncement."
While Bhushan pointed to the non-transparent manner in which election commissioners were being appointed, Attorney General recalled the Chief Election Commissioner including late T.N. Seshan who have led the Commission in conducting elections.
Seeking the constitution of a "neutral and independent collegiums/selection committee for the appointment of the election commissioners, the PIL petitioner Anoop Baranwal has contended that the existing practice of government appointing the election commissioners was "discriminatory and violative of Article 14 of the constitution..."
Contending that the prevailing practice was against the provision of Article 324 (2) of the constitution that "obligates the Executive/Legislature to make law for ensuring a fair, just and transparent selection process by constituting a neutral and independent collecgium/selection committee."
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