ECI Appointments: Arguments MatrixElection Commission Appointments
After four days of hearings, Justices K.M Joseph, Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy, and C.T. Ravikumar reserved judgment in the ECI Appointments challenge. The Court is deciding whether the present method of appointing Election Commission members in India is detrimental to democracy, and is unconstitutional.
In January 2015, Anoop Baranwal filed a PIL on the ground that the current system for appointing members of the Election Commission of India (ECI) is unconstitutional. Currently, the Executive enjoys the power to make appointments, which the PIL contends has degraded the ECI’s independence over time. The PIL pleads for the Court to issue directions to set up an independent, Collegium-like system for ECI appointments. It claims that the current system of appointments violates Article 324(2) of the Constitution.
Article 324 specifies that while the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners will be appointed by the President, this is subject to Parliamentary law (if such law exists). While this provision places an expectation on Parliament to draft a relevant a law, it has not done so up until now. In the absence of such a law, the President has been making appointments as per the recommendations of the Prime Minister.
The Union has defended the current mechanism of appointments, citing the ‘honest record’ of all past Chief Commissioners. It has urged the Court to not intervene, submitting that the matter falls within the executive domain.