ECI needs reforms
The independence and the integrity of the institution of the Election Commission of India cannot be allowed to be eroded by any government. In the absence of constitutional provisions for the selection of the Chief Election Commissioners/Election Commissioners, this has become the prerogative of the executive. But the selection of ECs must be done by a committee, which includes the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. Second, after retirement, the CECs/ECs should altogether be barred from taking up any official position or even nomination to become a Member of Parliament or Legislature.
Irrespective of the hue or the nature of the ruling party/dispensation at the Centre, it has a pronounced tendency/propensity to make the ECI a scarecrow. There have been many reasons to believe that polling dates are announced or fixed to suit the convenience and interests of the party in power. If a CEC is given a reasonably longer tenure, it should help him to function much more efficiently and impartially. But the powers-that-be that vociferously speak about the ‘beauty’ and the ‘might’ of democracy from the rooftops have no intention at all to practise democratic principles and values. The selection of CECs by a panel comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the country’s Chief Justice is a must. Will the country ever get a CEC in the mould of the intrepid T.N. Seshan?
An incident where a bus driver in Kerala was forced to reverse his bus over eight kilometres on a narrow forest road to save his passengers from an angry elephant is shocking. The wildlife department needs to ensure that such incidents do not recur. Elephant and tiger populations are increasing manifold, posing a threat to life. Steps must be taken to reduce man-animal conflicts.
Saudi Arabia stuns
With the stunning defeat of Argentina by Saudi Arabia at the FIFA World Cup in Doha, the game is turning out to be a great leveller. This year, reputation and form have been tossed aside, as examples in European fixtures show. Let us see what more unfolds at the World Cup.
Alto Santa Cruz, Goa