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

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.


  • 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

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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