‘6 names given, 10 mins before meet’: Adhir Ranjan on appointment of election commissioners

Orhan Wadia
Orhan Wadia - Editor
3 Min Read

In a recent development, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has voiced objections to the government’s proposed candidates for the vacant Election Commissioner positions. The concerns were raised during a committee meeting, which included Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Law Minister Arjun Meghwal, and the leader of the opposition.

Chowdhury expressed discontent with the selection process, alleging procedural flaws and raising apprehensions regarding the government’s influence in decision-making. He stressed the importance of transparency and impartiality in the appointment of Election Commissioners.

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“They have the majority (in the committee that appoints election commissioner). Earlier, they had given me 212 names, but 10 minutes before the appointment they again gave me just six names. I know that the CJI isn’t there, government has made such a law that the CJI doesn’t interfere and the Central govt can choose a favourable name. I am not saying that it’s arbitrary but the procedure that is being followed has some lacunae,” Chowdhury remarked.

New Appointees to the Election Commission

Following deliberations, the selection committee finalized retired IAS officers Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu as the new appointees to the Election Commission.

Gyanesh Kumar, previously serving as the secretary of the cooperation ministry, and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, former Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand, will join Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar on the commission. The decision aligns with the bill passed by the Rajya Sabha on December 12, aiming to regulate the appointment and service terms of the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners, thereby replacing the existing 1991 Act.

Sandhu, hailing from Punjab and a former IAS officer of the 1988 batch from Uttarakhand cadre, has a notable track record, including his tenure as the chief secretary of Uttarakhand during Pushkar Singh Dhami’s term as CM in 2021. Additionally, Sandhu has served as the chairperson of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

On the other hand, Kumar, belonging to the 1988-batch from Kerala cadre, has previously held the position of secretary in the ministry of parliamentary affairs. Notably, during his tenure in the home ministry, Kumar played a pivotal role in overseeing the abrogation of Article 370.

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