A potential clash between executive and judiciary arises as India’s government plans a new bill to alter top election officers’ appointment process, excluding Chief Justice and involving a Union Minister.
Bill to Alter Appointment Process
A fresh confrontation looms between the executive and judiciary as the government prepares to introduce a new bill aiming to modify the process of appointing the nation’s top election officers. The proposed legislation seeks to exclude the Chief Justice of India (CJI) from the appointment process and instead includes a Union Minister in the appointment committee.
Bill’s Introduction in Rajya Sabha
The Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Services and Term of Office) Bill, 2023, is set to be introduced in the Rajya Sabha. According to this bill, the President will appoint polling officers based on the recommendation of a panel composed of the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister.
Reversal of Supreme Court Judgment
Notably, this marks the second bill in this session that seeks to reverse the effect of a Supreme Court judgment. The apex court’s March 2023 verdict had stated that the President should appoint Chief Election Commissioners and Election Commissioners based on the advice of a panel consisting of the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, and the CJI.