Lok Sabha Passes Bill on CEC, EC appointment

Syllabus:  GS-II, Polity and Governance;

Subject: Polity and Governance;

Topic: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies;

Issue: Election Commissions Bill;

Context:  The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023 amid the scarce presence of Opposition members in the House.


  • Speaking during a debate before the passage of the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill on Thursday, Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal said the names of the commissioners were so far decided by the government, but from now on a search and selection committee will overlook the process.
  • He also asserted that this was in line with the Supreme Court’s directions..

Key Features of the bill:

  • Appointment of CEC and ECs: By President on recommendations from a Selection Committee comprising the PM, a Union Cabinet Minister, and the Leader of Opposition in LS.
  • Search Committee: led by the Cabinet Secretary will suggest candidates to Selection Committee.
  • Eligibility Criteria: Candidates must have held a post equivalent to the Secretary to the central government.
  • Salary and Conditions: The CEC and ECs will receive salaries and benefits equivalent to the Cabinet Secretary, a change from the previous equivalence to a Supreme Court judge.

Constitutional Provisions:

  • Article 324 of the Constitution allows the President to appoint the CEC and ECs but does not specify the appointment process.
  • Supreme Court Directive: In March 2023, the Supreme Court mandated a selection process involving the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, and the Chief Justice of India, until Parliament legislates otherwise.

Key Issues and Analysis:

  • Independence Concerns: The government-dominated Selection Committee could impact the Election Commission’s independence.
  • Validity despite Vacancies: The Selection Committee’s recommendations will be valid even with vacancies, potentially leading to government control in appointments.
  • Salary and Status: Aligning the CEC and ECs’ salary with the Cabinet Secretary, determined by the government, may affect their independence compared to a salary fixed by Parliament.
  • Exclusion of Candidates: Limiting eligibility to senior bureaucrats may exclude other qualified individuals, particularly those with judicial experience.
  • International Practices: The appointment processes for election commissions in countries like South Africa, the UK, the US, and Canada vary, with some involving judicial members or parliamentary approval.


  • Ensuring ECI’s Autonomy: While the Bill aims to formalize the appointment process for the CEC and ECs, maintaining the Election Commission’s autonomy and independence is crucial for upholding democratic principles.
  • Need for Deliberation: The concerns raised about the Bill highlight the need for careful consideration to ensure that the Election Commission remains an impartial and effective guardian of electoral integrity in India.
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