New Delhi: Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi favours a collegium type set up to choose the CEC and Election Commissioners who he says should have equal protection under the Constitution in the matter of removal.
He, however, hastened to add that the present system of selection of Election Commissioners and the three-member Commission is working fine.
"I would say that the (present) system has also worked well. But if there is a consensus going forward that this system needs to be replaced by a consultative system, I think the Commission would live with that and work well.
"Even in the absence of this consultative process, CECs and ECs have acted very neutrally, very independently," he told PTI in an interview.
He was responding to a question on the recent recommendation of the Law Commission that the appointment of Election Commissioners, including the CEC, should be made by the President in consultation with a three-member collegium.
The collegium should consist of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition of the Lok Sabha (or the leader of the largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha) and the Chief Justice of India, it had said.
Zaidi recalled that a committee had some years ago recommended a collegium system for appointment of Election Commissioners.
"They focused on Election Commissioners. By seniority, the EC becomes CEC, unless there is something extraordinary. They said the EC should enjoy the confidence of the entire political arena. A bill was also brought, but it did not succeed," he said.
Asked whether he supports the demand raised by his predecessors that all the Commissioners be made equal even in matter of removal, Zaidi said he is in "total agreement with all my predecessor Commissioners. The Commission had been taking it up with Law Ministry. Law Commission has reiterated it and this recommendation has merit".