Home » Blog » CEC and Other EC’s (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023

CEC and Other EC’s (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • Lok Sabha Passes Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023.
  • Lok Sabha has passed the bill after it was earlier approved by the Rajya Sabha.

Background

  • The 1991 Act lacked provisions for the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and other Election Commissioners (ECs).
  • Recommendations from the Dinesh Goswami Committee on Electoral Reforms (1990) and the Law Commission (2015) suggested a committee comprising the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India (CJI), and Leader of the Opposition for appointments.
  • Supreme Court emphasized a ‘stop-gap’ arrangement and suggested a panel with the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, and Chief Justice of India.

Highlights of the Bill

AspectDetails
Appointment Process– President appoints based on Selection Committee’s recommendation.

– Selection Committee: Prime Minister, Cabinet Minister, and Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha.

Search Committee– Headed by Cabinet Secretary.

– Proposes five names for consideration.

– Allows the Selection Committee to consider individuals beyond those suggested.

Eligibility Criteria– CEC and ECs must possess integrity, knowledge, and election management experience.

– Must have been Secretary (or equivalent) to the government.

Term and Reappointment– Members serve for six years or until age 65, whichever is earlier.

– No reappointment allowed.

– If an EC becomes CEC, the overall term may not exceed six years.

Salary and Pension– Salary, allowances, and conditions equivalent to the Cabinet Secretary.

– Option to draw pension and retirement benefits from previous service.

Removal Process– Removal of CEC in the same manner and grounds as a Supreme Court Judge.

– ECs can be removed only upon the recommendation of the CEC.

 

Key Issues

  • Concerns about the Union government’s dominance in the selection process, potentially compromising the Election Commission’s independence.
  • Accepting Committee recommendations during a vacancy may lead to government monopoly in candidate selection.
  • CEC and ECs’ salaries fixed by the government, contrasting with a Supreme Court judge’s salary set through an Act of Parliament.
  • CECs and ECs perform quasi-judicial functions.
  • Limiting posts to senior bureaucrats may exclude other qualified candidates.

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