Daily Current Affairs 02.12.2022 (How will global layoffs impact India?, How do personality rights protect celebrities?, Manufacturing PMI signals output orders at 3-mth high, Laying the ground to delegitimise the Supreme Court, Safer roads for a greener, more sustainable environment, Mixed bag, Should there be a panel to appoint Election Commissioners?)

Daily Current Affairs 02.12.2022 (How will global layoffs impact India?, How do personality rights protect celebrities?, Manufacturing PMI signals output orders at 3-mth high, Laying the ground to delegitimise the Supreme Court, Safer roads for a greener, more sustainable environment, Mixed bag, Should there be a panel to appoint Election Commissioners?)


1. How will global layoffs impact India?

Why did many U.S. tech companies let their employees go? What are the trends on jobs, attrition, operating profit margins among IT firms like TCS, Infosys and Wipro? Why is the start-up sector already hurting? What will happen if a worldwide recession sets in?

Over the past two months, a slew of U.S. multinational companies including tech giants Amazon, Meta, Intel, Twitter and financial behemoths like Citi and Morgan Stanley, announced massive layoffs. According to a global placement and coaching firm, the layoffs crossed 60,000 in September and October. These developments are bound to have an impact, on India’s export prospects, especially in the information technology (IT) sector.

Why are layoffs becoming common?

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai had warned of a coming winter in the tech sector earlier this year. In an all-hands meeting in September this year, one of his responses to staff queries on budget cuts was: “We don’t get to choose the macroeconomic conditions always.” A potential economic recession is a big red flag. With inflation soaring in most parts of the world, central banks have been scrambling since March this year to rein it in by increasing rates so as to make it more costly to borrow and consume. This will eventually affect economic growth and jobs. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cited forecasts for global GDP growth in both 2022 and 2023 as gloomy, given the pandemic and ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. Setting aside the 2008 crisis numbers, estimates for this calendar and the next by the IMF are the weakest since 2001.

What do U.S. CEOs saying feel about the coming months?

The Conference Board measure of CEO confidence showed top honchos in the West haven’t been this downbeat since the 2007-2009 recession. The survey asked 136 CEOs what economic conditions they are preparing to face over the next 12-18 months. An overwhelming majority— 98% — said they were preparing for a U.S. recession; while 99% said they were preparing for an EU recession.

What is the outlook for the Indian IT industry?

The Indian IT services firms are among the largest employers in the organised sector and any global economic trend is bound to have an impact on their growth projections. Managements look at headcount numbers critically when they want to cut costs and protect profit margins as they are accountable to investors. Though there isn’t a discernible trend yet, there are a few signs which may signal what is to be expected in the next few months. All top companies except Wipro saw a rise in revenue and net profit. Wipro’s net profit slid 9% from a year earlier for the quarter ended September.

The attrition rates, or the number of employees per 100 quitting on their own, of the top two firms, TCS and Infosys, show that these rates are still high, which means that there is enough business for the sector for competitors to draw away employees with promise of higher salaries. At Infosys, the attrition rate declined marginally to 27.1% in July-September 2022 from 28.4% in the previous April to June quarter; at TCS, the attrition rate crept up to 21.5% in the July-September quarter from 19.7% between April and June. As for operating profit margins (OPM), Infosys saw its OPM improve to 21.5% in July-September from 20% in April-June, but both 3-month and 6-month OPMs had dipped compared to a year earlier; TCS saw its OPM rates rise to 24% in the three months ended September compared to the last quarter (23.1%).

Media reports have said that Infosys aims to pay out 65% of the variable pay to employees for the July-September quarter, compared with 70% in the April-June quarter, because of ‘pressure on margins’.

What about start-ups?

News of layoffs in the Indian start-up front is predominantly in EDtech, or the educational technology front. A lesser share of internet users visiting educational websites since the decline of the pandemic is cited as one reason. The Indian start-up layoff tracker by Inc42 showed that more than 15,700 employees had been laid off in 2022 given tightening funding conditions. Byju’s, Chargebee, Cars24, Ola, Innovaccer, Udaan, Unacademy and Vedantu are names that have been in the news for layoffs, according to Inc42.

What happened in India during earlier global recessions?

During earlier global recessions, while companies seldom publicly announced layoffs, they would all look to ease out staff who were lower down the performance ladder. Companies that were in a particularly bad patch cut bench strength. Then again, if a person was about a month old on the bench (i.e., without projects), he or she may have been asked to sign up for some training courses etc. If the professional spent more than three months on the bench and had not landed a project, the system itself would ease him or her out. What happened in the aftermath of the 2008 recession that stretched well beyond 2-3 years is that companies would start slowing down headcount addition.

2. How do personality rights protect celebrities?

What are personality rights and how do they differ from publicity and trademark rights? Can indiscriminate use of a person’s name on the internet be a violation of personality rights?

The Delhi High Court recently passed an interim order to prevent the unlawful use of Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan’s name, image and voice. The court, through its order, restrained persons at large from infringing the personality rights of the actor.

What are personality rights?

Personality rights refer to the right of a person to protect his/her personality under the right to privacy or property. These rights are important to celebrities as their names, photographs or even voices can easily be misused in various advertisements by different companies to boost their sales. Therefore, it is necessary for renowned personalities/celebrities to register their names to save their personality rights.

A large list of unique personal attributes contribute to the making of a celebrity. All of these attributes need to be protected, such as name, nickname, stage name, picture, likeness, image and any identifiable personal property, such as a distinctive race car.

Are personality rights different from publicity rights?

Personality rights are different from publicity rights. Personality rights consist of two types of rights — firstly, the right of publicity, or the right to keep one’s image and likeness from being commercially exploited without permission or contractual compensation, which is similar (but not identical) to the use of a trademark; and secondly, the right to privacy or the right to not have one’s personality represented publicly without permission. However, under common law jurisdictions, publicity rights fall into the realm of the ‘tort of passing off’. Passing off takes place when someone intentionally or unintentionally passes off their goods or services as those belonging to another party. Often, this type of misrepresentation damages the goodwill of a person or business, resulting in financial or reputational damage. Publicity rights are governed by statutes like the Trade marks Act 1999 and the Copyright Act 1957.

Does the use of a name on the internet affect personality rights?

The Delhi High Court in 2011 made an observation in the case of Arun Jaitley vs Network Solutions Private Limited and Ors., in which Mr.Jaitley filed a suit seeking permanent injunction against the defendants from misuse and immediate transfer of the domain name The Court stated that “the popularity or fame of individual will be no different on the internet than in reality.” The Court decided in the favour of Mr. Arun Jaitley, stating that the “name also falls in the category wherein it besides being a personal name has attained distinctive indicia of its own. Therefore, the said name due its peculiar nature/distinctive character coupled with the gained popularity in several fields whether being in politics, or in advocacy, …has become a well-known personal name/mark under the trade mark law which enures him the benefit to refrain others from using this name unjustifiably in addition to his personal right to sue them for the misuse of his name.”

What about consumer rights?

While celebrities are protected from commercial misuse of their name and personality, there have also been instances where the consumers are misled owing to false advertisements or endorsements by such personalities. Due to such cases, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs has made a notification in 2022 to keep a check on misleading adverts and endorsements of consumer products by imposing a penalty on the endorser.

3. Manufacturing PMI signals output, orders at 3-mth high

S&P Global says easing input costs, resilient demand lift producers’ confidence; export orders expand; pace at which producers passed on costs to consumers was the slowest since February

November saw India’s manufacturing sector record the best uptick in output and new orders since August, with falling input costs lifting sentiment to an eight-year high, as per the S&P Global India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). The index rose to 55.7, from 55.3 in October.

While companies reported a notable improvement in international demand, with new export orders expanding at the second-fastest pace since May, inflation in input costs dropped sharply to the lowest in 28 months.

While costs of metals, paper and transportation continued to rise, the pace at which producers passed on costs was the slowest since February. In fact, 92% of the 400 firms surveyed did not tweak charges from October levels.

New orders and output accelerated in consumer and intermediate goods, but capital goods logged a slowdown. Employment rose solidly as firms readjusted operating capacities to meet a pick-up in sales.

“Participants were also strongly confident in both buoyancy of demand… and their ability to lift production,” said Pollyanna De Lima, economics associate director at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

4. Editorial-1: Laying the ground to delegitimise the Supreme Court

A change of guard at the office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) on November 9 seems to have triggered a reorientation of the Union government’s strategy towards the Supreme Court. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, the new CJI, carries a reputation of being a liberal judge with a strong and independent voice, notwithstanding his role in the 2019 Ayodhya-Babri Masjid case judgment that handed the Bharatiya Janata Party its biggest legal and political victory. The Union Minister of Law and Justice, Kiren Rijiju, seems to have discovered his voice to coincide with the new CJI’s appointment. In the last few weeks, he has displayed a keen sense of urgency in his attempts to set right the democratic deficit that has for three decades plagued the process of appointments to the higher judiciary.

In parallel, the Supreme Court has taken up the question of inaction on the part of the Union government in notifying recommendations made by the collegium, which is a flagrant violation of the law settled by the court in two cases in the 1990s. On Monday, after the Bench expressed displeasure at some of the comments Mr. Rijiju had made about the appointments, news emerged that the Union government had returned 19 recommendations to the collegium hours before the proceedings.

It is a fact that the Supreme Court remains obstinately committed to the collegium system of appointing judges with little regard for criticism from within and outside the legal fraternity. In interviews to the media after his retirement, the former CJI, Justice U.U. Lalit, categorised the collegium as the “perfect” system to protect the independence of the judiciary. Given such statements, it is hard to fathom an immediate change in the court’s position.

These developments have to be seen not just as attempts to reform a flawed system of appointments, but also as a strategy by the government to continue exercising the informal veto it has usurped in recent times by stalling collegium recommendations or forcing modifications in them. This plan is in anticipation of a reversal in the cozy relationship the Union government has had with preceding Chief Justices.

A sustained diatribe against the court from a Union Minister, who has been appointed by a government with a big majority and popular support, will erode confidence in the appointed judges and delegitimise the institution. The court must tackle this threat head on.

Blame on both sides

In 2015, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court struck down constitutional amendments that Parliament had effected to create the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC). The court’s central argument was that by removing the primacy of the judiciary in the new appointment process, the NJAC subverted the independence of the judiciary, a key component of the court’s conception of the basic structure of the Constitution.

At the same time, the court acknowledged that there were problems with the collegium system that required intervention. This led to separate proceedings by the same Bench in which the court appointed a two-member committee of senior lawyers, one of whom was a government law officer, to compile suggestions received from the legal community. The government also put its suggestions in writing. After deliberations, viable inputs were to be incorporated into a new Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for judicial appointments.

However, the Union government, through the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, took the position before the Bench that the right and power to frame the MoP was squarely in its field, going by the court’s judgments that created the collegium system. The court accepted this position and closed the proceedings, providing the Union government broad guidelines on what the MoP may focus on: eligibility, transparency, formation of a secretariat, and complaints redressal during the process. What happened to the 11,500 pages of suggestions received by the committee is anybody’s guess. Media reports indicate that the court and the government could not find a common ground over these reforms to the MoP. Thus, the process went into cold storage.

In the meantime, the government’s response to the striking down of the NJAC was inaction — it began to stall appointments. While Mr. Rijiju took exception last week to criticism from the court that the government was sitting on recommendations, this is exactly what the government did. It belligerently opposed names it did not like and even ignored reiterations by the collegium, which, as per the law, are binding on the government. An important case was that of Justice K.M. Joseph in 2018. When he was eventually appointed, he lost the seniority he would have got with the original recommendation as the names were split by the government for appointments.

On the other hand, the Union government made no attempts to revive the NJAC through Parliament by filling the gaps that the Supreme Court had pointed out in its 2015 judgment.

The tendency of recent CJIs to not agitate the government over these omissions, despite the deleterious effects on the institution, aided the continuation of a delicate calmness in the court-government relationship. The change of guard at the office of the CJI seems to have brewed a storm that threatens to disrupt this calm.

Undermining legitimacy

In many countries, the judiciary has been the first target of regimes that seek to strengthen their hold over power. In Hungary and Poland, in recent times, there have been overt attacks on these institutions. Such attacks have changed the powers and composition of these institutions and turned them into courts conducive to the executive’s policies. The process of appointments to the higher judiciary remains a highly contested field. Frontal attacks on the process serve as indicators of democratic backsliding.

In India, the court has tried to resist this process, albeit through the flawed method of the collegium system. The process, initiated through a much-criticised reinterpretation of the appointment provisions in the Constitution, fails to fulfil basic demands of transparency and accountability and remains prone to charges of nepotism. There is also a serious lack of social diversity in the appointments.

However, Mr. Rijiju’s comments are setting the stage for a new normal that could eventually lead to the delegitimisation of the court. The question that it leads to is this: can judges appointed through an opaque, democratically deficient process deliver judgments that can be legitimately accepted in a democracy? Coming from a government seeking control of judicial appointments, this is a dangerous road to embark on.

The antidote to this problem would be for the court to voluntarily take up reforms to the collegium system and expedite the creation of a new MoP by incorporating the legitimate concerns of the government and stakeholders at large. This is the only way to remove the sting out of the attacks.

5. Editorial-2: Safer roads for a greener, more sustainable environment

The impact of road safety goes a long way. In addition to ensuring an easier, comfortable, and more secure commute, safer roads also have a positive impact on the environment. In 2021, India reported 4,03,116 crashes, each of which adversely impacted the environment in various ways and in different degrees. Most vehicles contain toxic metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium or hexavalent chromium, which are detrimental to the environment. Fuel and fluid leaks are seen at crash sites. Severe road crashes lead to automobile wreckage, which becomes a part of unusable end-of-life vehicles. This gives rise to scrappage. India is estimated to have about 22.5 million end-of-life vehicles by 2025. Despite being one of the largest car and light commercial vehicle markets in the world, India’s National Automobile Scrappage Policy, launched in 2021, is still in its nascent stages.

With the absence of widespread, systematic facilities dedicated to their proper recycling, vehicles after road crashes as well as old end-of-life automobiles are left to rot by the wayside. Some end up at landfills or at informal recycling facilities where rudimentary hand tools are utilised to unscientifically dismantle them. This leads to the leakage of hazardous constituents such as oils, coolants and glass wool. Vehicle landfills turn into automobile graveyards leading to wasteful and sub-optimal land usage and water and soil pollution for decades.

Speeding limits

Road safety and environmental sustainability are closely intertwined concepts. Being cognisant of the latter while working on the former is the need of the hour. One of the biggest factors for road crashes is speeding. In 2020 alone, speeding was responsible for 91,239 road crash fatalities, comprising 69.3% of all road crash deaths registered. Speeding has consistently been responsible for over 60% of all road crash fatalities in India in the last five years. Simulation exercises in Europe have demonstrated that cutting motorway speed limits even by 10 km/h can deliver 12% to 18% fuel savings for current technology passenger cars, along with a significant reduction in pollutant emissions, particularly Nitrogen Oxides and particulate matter (PM) output, from diesel vehicles. A similar study conducted in Amsterdam demonstrated that where the speed limit was lowered from 100 km/h to 80 km/h, PM reduced by up to 15% thereby significantly improving air quality. Studies also show that highway speed limits of 96.5 km/h are 25% more efficient than limits of 120 km/h, in which case wind resistance leads to more fuel consumption.

Consequently, several governments globally have reduced speed limits to prevent crashes and lower air pollution. For instance, the Wales government brought in 80 km/h speed limits at five locations across Wales to reduce outdoor pollution and improve public health. In India, the Zero-Fatality Corridor solution for road safety by the SaveLIFE Foundation (SLF) takes environmental sustainability seriously and focuses on reducing speeding through advanced engineering and enforcement technologies.

Various initiatives

Vegetation on or very close to the road stretches often falls prey to road widening initiatives. All road safety initiatives undertaken and recommended by the SaveLIFE Foundation are designed to be impactful and environment-friendly. The Foundation’s Zero-Fatality Corridor (ZFC) programme, which was deployed on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway in 2016, helped bring down road crash fatalities by 52%, as of 2020. Similar interventions were introduced in 2018 on the Old Mumbai-Pune Highway and helped reduce the road crash fatalities on this stretch by 61%, as of 2021.Initiatives included guarding natural hard structures such as trees using crash barriers to prevent direct collisions, and installing retro reflective signage on the trees to make them more visible to commuters. The Government of India too is now building green corridors to go over forests and animal paths as opposed to going through them. Scaling this will have a profound impact on preserving the environment while ensuring better road connectivity.

Missing or inadequate signages are another leading cause of road crashes. Their absence results in road users being unaware of a stretch’s unique features in a timely manner, which could lead to crashes. It is a common standard practice to use asbestos for creating these signages. As asbestos has an adverse impact on the environment, the ZFC programme opts only for long-lasting, high-quality, non-hazardous material for signage. Despite being more expensive than asbestos, one of the most sustainable and recyclable materials, Aluminium Composite Panels, are employed for signages. Not only is this free of toxic gas or liquids during the production process, it is also recyclable separately as aluminium and plastic, without much value or quality loss. This also makes it apt for subsequent multi-purpose usage.

Roads and the environment are inseparable spaces. They are not just our shared resources but also our joint responsibility. Therefore, safer roads and a sustainable environment can be ensured only through the joint efforts of road-owning agencies, enforcement officials and the public.

6. Editorial-3: Mixed bag

Despite inflation, credit conditions must remain supportive of the real economy

The latest official GDP estimates show the economy’s expansion decelerated in the July-September period, dragged down by year-on-year and sequential contractions in manufacturing and mining and a broad slowdown in private consumption expenditure and government spending. Gross domestic product is projected to have grown by 6.3% from the year-earlier period, a sharp deceleration from the 13.5% expansion posted in the first quarter and July-September 2021’s 8.4% pace. On the Gross Value Added (GVA) side, only three of the eight sectors — agriculture; the omnibus contact-intensive services sector of trade, hotels, transport and communications; and financial, realty and professional services — posted year-on-year accelerations in growth. And five sectors, including agriculture; electricity, gas, water supply and other utility services; and construction posted sequential contractions reflecting the heightened uncertainty that the global slowdown, the war in Ukraine and the persistently high domestic inflation have together engendered. On the expenditure front, growth in both the bulwark private consumption spending and government expenditure slowed appreciably, with the former logging a 9.7% year-on-year expansion, compared with the first-quarter growth of 25.9%, and the latter shrinking by 4.4% after expanding 1.3% in the April-June period. However, sequentially, private consumption signalled some festival-led rebound as it registered a tentative 1% growth, and a 3.4% quarter-on-quarter growth in gross fixed capital formation pointed to a growing willingness to invest on the part of private businesses.

Chief Economic Adviser V. Anantha Nageswaran was emphatic that the economy’s recovery from the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was well underway and, notwithstanding the global headwinds, put the country on track to achieve 6.8% to 7% growth this fiscal. Still, the challenge posed by data variability and revisions, which a top RBI policymaker recently flagged, is a crucial element that cannot be ignored and is best underscored by the fact that the ‘Discrepancies’ entry in the latest GDP estimates hit a nine-quarter high of 2.9%. Also, the official core sector data for October, showing combined output across the eight key industries that include cement, coal, fertilizers, electricity and refinery products, struggled to inch its way up. Policymakers can ill-afford to drop their guard as they battle to rein in growth-sapping inflation and must ensure that credit conditions remain supportive of the real economy.

7. Editorial-4: Should there be a panel to appoint Election Commissioners?

Is there a case for a collegium-like system for the appointment of Election Commissioners (ECs)?

S.Y. Quraishi: Yes, of course. I have been writing this, saying it in the media for a long, long time that there is a case for a collegium, that it would inspire more public confidence. The presence of the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha (LoP) in the collegium particularly would lend credence to the selection process. Of course, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) is important also. But the LoP politically has a lot more importance and significance if he or she is signatory to the appointment.

Jagdeep S. Chhokar: I agree with what Dr. Quraishi has said about the collegium, whether it is of the Prime Minister, LoP and CJI, or there are also one or two other people. A broader base and consultative system would obviously be [better]. There is no comparison with the current system where the government of the day appoints ECs on its own, with nobody knowing how it is being done. So, any change of that kind will be very, very useful.

The government’s opposition to reform in this area has so far been the limiting jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. And governments over the years have consistently resisted such reform. What do you have to say about that?

SYQ: Yes, we have been writing to the government. Several predecessors and I have written to the government in the last 20-25 years, and the government has been resisting because no government wants to let go of this power, which is why they have not taken any action. When I was appointed as the EC in 2006, I was told by a top functionary in the Prime Minister’s Office that the Prime Minister was of the opinion that the collegium is a good idea and is not avoidable any more, and he thought that perhaps my appointment would be the last under the old system. But it didn’t happen for whatever reason.

As far as the judiciary’s power to look into the issue goes, the judiciary is the guardian of the Constitution, and a free and fair election is [part of] the basic structure of the Constitution. On anything to ensure a free and fair election, the judiciary comes in very much. And in any case, the judiciary is pointing out that Article 324 requires that Parliament will pass an Act about the procedure of appointment and things like that. It has not happened in the last 72 years. So, the Supreme Court is fully justified in pointing this out. In any case, the Supreme Court has not jumped in suo motu. There are PILs before it, and people have gone to court in protest against the government’s inaction. So, the Supreme Court has every right to ask questions and adjudicate. Why has the government been sleeping for 72 years? Why haven’t they passed this?

JSC: The reason is obvious. The government wants to have complete control on the constitutional body called the Election Commission of India (ECI), which under the Constitution is supposed to be independent of the government. They have not, in a sense, been resisting. A lot of proposals have been made by the ECI and by several committees and commissions appointed by the government itself for the last 25-30 years. There have been Law Commission reports; there is a report of the commission to review the working of the Constitution; and going back before that, there was the Goswami Committee report, and so on. So, the government’s own commissions and committees have said so, but obviously any government, irrespective of the party in power, wants to have some control over the ECI and appointing ECs directly without consulting anybody else is one obvious way of asserting its power. The government wants to make sure that the ECI, or the three members of the ECI do not have the courage to go against the government’s will. That is the whole issue.

Election Commissioners are considered a feeder category for appointment as CEC, with different thresholds for termination of service. What is the power dynamic being created because of this? And is there a case to consider the appointment of ECs and CECs separate from each other?

JSC: There is no such provision either in the Constitution or in law, which has been made in 1991 called the Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991. Section 4 of that unambiguously says the CEC or an EC shall hold office for a term of six years from the date he or she assumes office. Then there is a proviso, provided that where the CEC or an EC attains the age of 65 years before the expiry of the said term of six years, he or she shall vacate the office on the date on which he or she attains the said age. Now, the trick here is that the government, in its wisdom over the years, has been appointing people as ECs who do not even have six years before they complete 65 years of age, and therefore they attain 65 and they retire as an EC, or at best as the CEC after a tenure of one or two years as the CEC. But there is nothing in the law or in the Constitution which says that you cannot appoint a 58- or 59-year-old. Why can’t the government appoint a 58- or a 59-year-old person as the EC and a different 58- or 59-year-old person as the CEC?

The tradition has been built up obviously by the bureaucracy, so everywhere seniority in the bureaucracy is made to count. The position of EC or CEC is not based on one’s standing or seniority in the civil service. It could even be a lawyer, it could be a judge, I mean it is not a written rule anywhere. The argument given is that bureaucrats conduct elections in the districts when they are District Magistrates and so on, and therefore they have experience that nobody else has. While judges and lawyers and other people who deal with such matters could very well be appointed and even bureaucrats could be appointed at the appropriate age, the intention is not to give any EC or CEC confidence that he or she cannot be touched for the next six years.

And that is why this so-called tradition, or the system, has been evoked where batch seniority is extremely important. It is very interesting to see that seniority becomes extremely important for ECs, but within the civil service people are superseded every now and then. Then the principle of seniority is not sacrosanct. So, this issue of whether an EC and a CEC should have a fixed tenure of six years is extremely important, and I am very happy that the Constitution Bench in the Supreme Court took note of it on its own.

I think that is a matter which is very important and the ECs and CECs must have a tenure of six years which is undisturbed; and to say that an EC is always elevated to the post of CEC, that again is a created situation. The Constitution or the law does not say that anywhere at all. All three members are equal, and one is first among equals.

SYQ: I think the seniority principle is an important principle to follow, even in the Supreme Court. The short tenure of the CEC does not infringe on his or her independence. That is an independent issue. And the short tenure is happening because since 1993, we have a multi-member ECI, and we have to see the combined tenure as EC and CEC, or 65 years of age, whichever is earlier.

Given that the kind of protection from termination is different for ECs and the CEC, does this not significantly complicate the position a CEC might be in after having served as EC for part of his or her tenure?

SYQ: Yes, which is why we say that while the CEC is protected from removal, the two ECs are not, which was a mistake committed at the time of passing the 1993 amendment. It should have been automatic because protection to an EC is not for the individual but for the institution. The institution was a one-member institution earlier, now it is a three-member institution. So, protection has to extend to all three.

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *