Why is it in the news?
- Recently, the bill about Election Commissioner was introduced in Rajya Sabha and is listed for discussion in the special session of the parliament.
- The change in service conditions raises concerns about potential erosion of the Election Commissioners’ authority and independence.
- Former CECs and expert’s express concerns about the impact of downgrading the Election Commissioners’ service conditions on the independent character of the Election Commission and its ability to discipline the political class.
About the bill
- The bill repeals the Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991.
- Composition of the Election Commission:
- The Election Commission consists of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and other Election Commissioners (ECs).
- They are appointed by the President.
- Selection Committee: The Selection Committee for appointing the Election Commission includes:
- Chairperson: Prime Minister
- Member: Leader of the Opposition
- Member: Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister
- The Chief Justice of India (CJI) is no longer part of the selection panel.
- Search Committee: A Search Committee, led by the Cabinet Secretary, will prepare a panel of five persons for the Selection Committee’s consideration.
- Qualification of CEC and ECs:
- Eligible candidates must have held posts equivalent to the rank of Secretary to the central government.
- They should possess expertise in managing and conducting elections.
- Removal and Resignation:
- The CEC can only be removed in a manner similar to that of a Supreme Court judge.
- Removal involves an order of the President, based on a motion passed by both Houses of Parliament.
- The motion requires a majority of the total membership of each House and at least two-thirds support from members present and voting.
- An EC can only be removed upon the recommendation of the CEC.