Senior opposition leader Lal Kishan Advani from Bhartiya Janata Party has sent a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the weekend seeking a change in the system of appointing the chief election commissioner, saying the present system where the CEC is appointed by the President on the sole advice of the PM is open to ''manipulation and partisanship''.
Chief Election Commissioner S Y Qureshi is to retire this month. Advani has suggested that the next CEC be chosen by a collegium comprising the PM, the Chief Justice of India, the law minister and leaders of the opposition in both houses of Parliament. This would bring transparency to the process, he said.
He also suggested the same procedure for appointment of the next Comptroller & Auditor General of India. Current CEC Vinod Rai – known to be unusually active in sniffing out any hint of a possible 'scam' involving losses to the exchequer – is due to retire next year.
Advani said the decision was now in the domain of the ruling party.
"The present system whereby members to the election commission are appointed by the President, solely on the advice of the prime minister, does not evoke confidence among people. Keeping these important decisions as exclusive preserve of the ruling party renders the selection process vulnerable to manipulation and partisanship," Advani wrote.
"The credibility of this system was severely dented when a dubious appointment to the crucial office of CEC was made a few years ago. The time has come to reform the selection process," he said.