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December 15, 2023 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


The Rajya Sabha recently approved the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023, aiming to reform the appointment process for the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (EC) in response to a Supreme Court directive. This bill replaces the Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991, and introduces key changes in the appointment, salary, and removal procedures.


Key Provisions of the Bill:

Appointment Process:

  • CEC and ECs appointed by the President upon the recommendation of a Selection Committee.
  • Committee includes the Prime Minister, a Union Cabinet Minister, and the Leader of Opposition/leader of the largest opposition party in Lok Sabha.
  • Recommendations remain valid during a vacancy in the Committee.
  • A Search Committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary proposes a panel of names to the Selection Committee.
  • Eligibility includes holding (or having held) a post equivalent to the Secretary to the central government.

Changes in Salary and Conditions:

  • Salary and conditions of CEC and ECs equivalent to that of the Cabinet Secretary, departing from the 1991 Act where it matched a Supreme Court Judge’s salary.

Removal Process:

  • Constitutional provision (Article 324(5)) retained, allowing CEC’s removal like a Supreme Court Judge. ECs can be removed only on the CEC’s recommendation.
  • Bill protects CEC and ECs from legal proceedings related to official duties during their tenure.

Current Appointment Process:

  • Constitutional provisions in Articles 324-329 of the Constitution govern the Election Commission’s formation.
  • The President appoints on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers.
  • No specific legislative process outlined in the Constitution for appointment.

Concerns Regarding the Bill:

Transparency and Independence:

Concerns about potential ruling party monopoly during certain circumstances, affecting diversity and independence of the Selection Committee.

Shift from Judicial Benchmark to Executive Control:

Equating CEC and ECs’ salary with the Cabinet Secretary raises concerns about potential government influence, compromising financial independence.

Limiting Eligibility to Civil Servants:

Restricting eligibility to those equivalent to the Secretary to the government may limit diversity in the ECI.

Concerns About Lack of Parity:

The bill maintains the unequal removal processes for CEC and ECs, potentially raising questions about fairness.


While the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023, addresses the need for transparency in appointment procedures, concerns about potential executive influence and lack of parity in removal processes should be carefully considered to ensure the independence and effectiveness of the Election Commission. The balance between government influence and the autonomy of this crucial democratic institution requires thoughtful deliberation for the successful implementation of electoral reforms.


December 15, 2023
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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