New Delhi: Referring to Supreme Court decision of 1998, veteran BJP leader L K Advani on Sunday suggested that Election Commissioners should be selected by a panel which includes the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha as is done in the case of the CVC and the CIC.

Advani referred to a 1998 Apex Court decision in which the then Chief Justice J S Verma, Justice S P Barucha and Justice S C Sen stated that a selection panel consisting of the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the Leader of the
Opposition in Lok Sabha would choose the CVC.

The same order was used in the case of appointment of Chief Information Commissioner under the Right to Information Act, 2005. Here the Home Minister was replaced by the Law Minister.

"Chief Justice Verma's decision to involve the opposition in an important appointment, which till then was the exclusive preserve of the ruling party set a precedent," Advani stated in his blog on Sunday.

He suggests that Article 324 of the Constitution which deals with the Election
Commission of India should be suitably amended to follow the same selection process for appointment of Election Commissioners and the Chief Election Commissioner.

"It would be very appropriate and a step towards strengthening democracy if the Supreme Court's 1998 decision followed in the RTI Act is incorporated in case of the
Election Commission also," Advani said.

"The phrasing of Art 324 (2) shows that this would not need any Constitution amendment. It would be achieved by an ordinary enactment. The earlier it is done the better," he added.

BJP had raised several objections in the past against Navin Chawla, first during his tenure as Election Commissioner and later when he was elevated to the post of Chief Election Commissioner. The main opposition had alleged that Chawla favoured the Congress party.

In his blog, Advani praised the Supreme Court for its activism on the issue of Indian black money stashed abroad and recalled the recent comments of the Apex Court which said, "What the hell is going on?" on the case of Pune-based stud farm owner Hasan Ali, who is alleged to have evaded taxes worth Rs 76,000 crore.

Stating that "What the Hell!" is not a phrase one would normally expect from a Supreme Court Bench, Advani said, "But government's behaviour these days has been so abnormal, that if you go round the country and note the language you hear everywhere, it reflects nothing other than a sense of utter disgust over the manner in which government has been conducting itself."

(Agencies)