This proposal is in stark contrast to the Supreme Court's March ruling.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh today shared a 2012 letter by BJP stalwart LK Advani to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh amid controversy over a proposed bill by the centre that will exclude the Chief Justice of India from the process to appoint the country's top election officers.
The letter proposed the creation of a wide-ranging collegium to oversee such appointments.
The bill tabled in the Rajya Sabha yesterday proposes that the President will appoint top Election Commission officers based on the recommendations of a panel consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister.
This proposal is in stark contrast to the Supreme Court's March ruling, which stated that the panel should consist of the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, and the Chief Justice of India.
"In order to allow independence in the functioning of the Election Commission as a Constitutional body, the office of Chief Election Commissioners, as well as the Election Commissioners, have to be insulated from the executive interference," Mr Advani's letter read.
Opposing the centre's move, Mr Ramesh said: "The CEC Bill brought by the Modi government is not only against what Advani proposed but also overturns a 5-judge Constitutional bench judgment from 2nd March, 2023."
Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey will retire on February 14, 2024, upon attaining the age of 65. This will create a vacancy in the poll panel early next year.
Ahead of that eventuality, and the Lok Sabha elections scheduled next year, the proposed bill is aimed at "controlling" the Election Commission, Mr Ramesh said.
"This coming from the Modi government in an election year further cements the view that Mr Modi wants to ensure control over the Election Commission," he wrote on social media.
Despite strong objections from opposition members, Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar took up the legislative business and Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal introduced the bill.
Prior to the Supreme Court's March ruling, the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners were appointed by the President on the recommendation of the government.