Supreme Court Current Affairs - 2020

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Supreme Court allows Centre to replace MCI oversight committee

The Supreme Court has allowed the Union Government to replace the oversight committee set up to supervise the functioning of the Medical Council of India (MCI) with a fresh panel of five eminent doctors.

The Supreme Court also gave the Government liberty to replace any doctor in the list with another if he does not wish to be a part of the oversight committee.

Earlier, Government had proposed the names of five eminent doctors to replace the earlier members of the oversight committee whose term had just expired.

Background

The Supreme Court using its rare and extraordinary powers under the Article 142 of the Constitution had set up the oversight committee court in May 2016 to oversee the MCI’s functioning for a period of one year or till a suitable mechanism was brought in by the Government to substitute it. The committee was led by former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha.

About Medical Council of India (MCI)

MCI is a statutory body for establishing uniform and high standards of medical education in India. It grants recognition of medical qualifications, gives accreditation to medical schools, grants registration to medical practitioners, and monitors medical practice in India.

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SC asks government to formalise Election Commissioners’ appointment through Law

The Supreme Court has asked the Union government to formalise appointment of election commissioners through law.

Need

The Supreme Court has observed that even though the Election commissioners have been so far appointed in a very fair manner, there exists a legitimate expectation in the Constitution of India that Election Commissioners, who are charged with the free and fair conduct of elections be appointed through a “most transparent and just process” formalised by a law enacted by the Parliament.

According to the Supreme Court, at present due to lack of a parliamentary law, there is no transparency in the eligibility, criteria required for a person to be appointed as an election commissioner. The court has observed that even the selection procedure of the CBI Director is formalised by a written law

Election Commissioners

For the conduct of free and fair elections, an independent Election Commission has been provided for in Article 324.In India, the Election Commission consists of three members. These all are appointed by the President for a term which is fixed by the President. However, conditions of service and tenure of office of the chief election commissioner and other election commissioner are determined by an act of parliament titled The Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Conditions of Service) Act, 1991. This act has fixed the following:

  • The chief election commissioner or an election commissioner shall hold office for a term of 6 years or age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • The chief election commissioner and other commissioners are paid a salary equal to the salary of a judge of the Supreme Court. On retirement, they are entitled to a pension payable to a judge of the Supreme Court.
  • All business of the election commission shall, as far as possible, be transacted unanimously. If the chief election commissioner and other election commissioners differ in opinion on any matter, such matter shall be decided according to the opinion of the majority.

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