PM Modi-headed committee to meet on February 7 to select new Election Commissioner

This will be the first meeting of the selection committee since the new law was passed by the Parliament in December last year

February 06, 2024 09:01 pm | Updated February 07, 2024 06:45 am IST - New Delhi

A file photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi

A file photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi | Photo Credit: ANI

A committee, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, mandated to select the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners would meet for the first time on Wednesday.

The panel will meet to select a candidate to fill the vacancy that will arise when Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey demits office on February 14, sources said.

Besides Mr. Pandey, the Election Commission of India comprises Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioner Arun Goel.

This is the first meeting of the committee since a new law to appoint the CEC and other ECs came into effect on January 2 this year. The Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Act, 2023 was passed in Parliament in December last year.

According to the new law, a search committee headed by the Law Minister and comprising two Union Secretaries will shortlist five names for consideration by the selection committee.

The panel headed by the Prime Minister has as members a Union Minister nominated by the Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha. In case there is no LoP in the Lower House, the leader of the single largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha will be deemed to be the LoP. The selection panel will have the power to consider even those not shortlisted by the search committee.

In March 2023, the Supreme Court ruled that the selection panel should comprise the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Lok Sabha and the CJI. The court had said the order would hold good until a law was made by Parliament.

Till the SC ruling, Election Commissioners and Chief Election Commissioners (CECs) had been appointed by the President based on recommendations by the government.

Opposition parties had slammed the Bill when it was passed in Parliament, saying it would give the executive the power to select Chief Election Commissioners and Election Commissioners who would favour the ruling party.

The Supreme Court, however, on January 12 declined a request for an interim stay of the new law.

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