Mains Paper2: Powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
The following things are important from UPSC perspective:
Prelims: Election Commission
Mains level: The news card talks about the issue of vagueness in the procedure for of removal Election Commissioners as the Constitution only provides safeguard to CEC from the arbitrary removal.
- The Supreme Court on Friday sought the Attorney-General’s assistance on a PIL petition pointing out the vagueness in the procedure for removal of Election Commissioners, saying it affects the Election Commission’s autonomy.
- A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra asked for a copy of the petition to be served on Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal so that he could address the court on the issue which is due to come up after three weeks.
- The petition filed by Supreme Court advocate argued that though the proviso to Article 324 (5) of the Constitution safeguards the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) from arbitrary removal, the same provision is silent about the procedure for removal of the two Election Commissioners.
- It only provides that they cannot be removed from office except on the recommendation of the CEC.
- The petition said the ambiguity about the removal procedure of the Election Commissioners may affect the functional independence of the Commission.
- It contended that the rationale behind not affording similar protection to Election Commissioners is not explicable.
- The element of independence sought to be achieved under the Constitution is not exclusively for an individual alone but for the institution.
- The petition, in short, has asked the Supreme Court to provide Election Commissioners with the same protection against arbitrary removal as the Chief Election Commissioner.
- The CEC and the Election Commissioners enjoy the same decision-making powers which are suggestive of the fact that their powers are at par with each other.
- However, Article 324(5) does not provide similar protection to the Election Commissioners and it merely says that they cannot be removed from office except on the recommendation of the CEC.
- The CEC and the Election Commissioners have tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65, whichever is earlier.
- Also, they enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Supreme Court judges.