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Tandon favours committee led by PM to choose CEC

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, May 11 (UNI) Chief Election Commissioner B B Tandon has favoured constitution of a committee headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to choose the chief election commissioner and other commissioners.

In a letter to President A P J Abdul Kalam, written in his personal capacity, he has suggested that they should be appointed by a committee as was being done for the appointments to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).

The letter written last month has suggested a seven-member committee headed by the Prime Minister. The composition of the committee should include Lok Sabha speaker, leaders of opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Law Minister, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha and a judge of the Supreme Court to be nominated by the Chief Justice of India.

''Based on the recommendation of this committee, the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and the election commissioners may be made by the President by warrant under his hand and seal,'' said Mr Tandon who will be demitting office on June 29 next month.

Citing debates in the constituent Assembly on this aspect, he said the selection of CEC and ECs by a committee would not only be in keeping with the spirit and sentiments flowing from the debates in the constituent Assembly but also further strengthen the faith of the people in the continued impartiality, neutrality and credibility of the EC. Hence the proposal required urgent consideration.

He said Article 324 of the constitution provides that the appointment of the CEC and the ECs shall, subject to the provisions of any law made in that behalf by Parliament, be made by the President.

''Under the present scheme of things, the CEC and the ECs are appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister as no other procedure has been prescribed,'' said Mr Tandon pointing out to the appointments made in NHRC and CVC.

The commission has over the years not only been able to generate confidence and faith among voters and the full spectrum of political parties in the total impartiality, credibility and independence, but has also created a niche for itself in the domestic and international arena, he said.

''To further strengthen this faith and confidence in the public mind, it may be appropriate to consider a procedure through which the President has the benefit of the recommendations of a broad-based committee for making appointments to the posts of CEC and the ECs,'' Mr Tandon added.

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