West Bengal CM attacks Centre over EC appointments bill
Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal introduced the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023.
KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday slammed the central government over the introduction of the Chief Election Commissioner Bill in the Rajya Sabha. Banerjee said that the Bharatiya Janata Party bows down to anarchy.
"Amidst calls to bow down to the judiciary, the @BJP4India instead bows to anarchy! The CJI's role in the 3-member committee for selecting the CEC is crucial. We strongly oppose replacing the CJI with a cabinet minister in the EC selection. The discomfort suggests their vote manipulation could suffer", said the Bengal CM on Twitter.
Further, she added that India must question this blatant disregard for the judiciary. “Are they aiming to turn the Judiciary into a minister-run kangaroo court? We pray to the Judiciary for India. My Lord, save our country", said Banerjee. Notably, a Bill to regulate the appointment, conditions of service and term of office of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners was introduced in Rajya Sabha on Thursday, with opposition parties strongly opposing its introduction.
Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal introduced the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023. The Bill also deals with the procedure for the transaction of business by the Election Commission.
The Bill proposes that the Election Commissioners will be appointed by the President on the recommendation of a panel comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister will chair the panel.
The Bill, if it comes into effect, will negate the Supreme Court's March 2023 judgment that held that the appointment of Election Commissioners will be done by the President on the advice of a panel comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Justice of India. However, in its judgement, the apex court had held that the procedure underlined by it would hold till a law is enacted by Parliament. The proposed bill has evoked a sharp reaction from opposition parties. Congress leader KC Venugopal said the bill aims to make Election Commission a “puppet in the hands of the Prime Minister”.
“A blatant attempt to make the Election Commission a total puppet in the hands of the Prime Minister," he said in a tweet. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet that the bill shows that “the Prime Minister will change any decision of the Supreme Court that he does not like by introducing a bill in the Parliament". In response to Arvind Kejriwal, BJP leader Amit Malviya said that the government is within its rights to bring the bill. “The SC judgement had suggested a transient method for appointment of the CEC, in the absence of a statutory mechanism. The govt is well within its right to bring in a bill for the same," he said in a tweet.