A Constitution Bench on Thursday fixed for November 17 the hearing of petitions seeking an “independent mechanism for appointment of Election Commissioners” outside the exclusive power of the government.
Appearing before the five-judge Bench led by Justice K.M. Joseph, advocate Prashant Bhushan said the selection process should be done by a high-level committee of the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India as is done in the case of the CBI Director.
The petitions were referred to the Constitution Bench despite objections raised by the Centre that the appointment of Election Commissioners (ECs) to the top poll body was “consciously and deliberately” a part of the executive function of the state.
The Centre had argued that the appointment process under the aegis of the government had in the past given eminent persons, including T.N. Seshan, who was a byword for independence.
Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay, said there should be an independent secretariat for the appointment process of ECs and their emoluments should be drawn from the Consolidated Fund of India.