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Govt prepared for Opposition role in CEC appointment


Facing a growing demand for transparency and consensus on the appointment of the chief election commissioner (CEC) and other commission members, the government is set to seek the opinion of all political parties on the matter. The issue was raised by BJP veteran LK Advani in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier this month.


Advani had demanded that the CEC and other members should be appointed by a five member-panel or collegium, comprising the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, leaders of the Opposition in both houses of Parliament and the law minister.


“The present system whereby members of the Election Commission are appointed by the President solely on the advice of the Prime Minister does not evoke confidence among the people,” Advani had written on 2 June.


The government has decided to include this issue in its electoral reforms agenda to be discussed at an all-party meeting soon. A top government official said the PM is expected to respond to Advani’s letter shortly.


“A well laid-out procedure for appointment of the CEC and other election commissioners is being followed, as was done by all previous regimes, including the NDA,” the official said.


“This procedure has withstood the test of time and legal scrutiny, including landmark judgments from the Supreme Court,” the official added.


The Prime Minister’s Office has directed the law ministry to expedite all ongoing consultations on electoral reforms, including an all-party meeting.


After Advani, CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta shot off a letter to the PM, demanding a change in the appointment procedure to free it from governmental control.


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