New Bill on Appointment of Election Commissioners: Basics Explained

The Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023, which aims to regulate the appointment and service terms of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners, was passed in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, December 21.

In the Monsson session, the Government introduced The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Other Election Commissioners (EC) Bill, 2023, that seeks to establish a selection panel comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and a Union Cabinet Minister to recommend the President on appointments of Election Commission members. The Election Commission is a three-member body, comprising a CEC and 2 ECs.

  • Union Cabinet Minister will be nominated by the Prime Minister.
  • Where the Leader of Opposition (LOP) in Lok Sabha has not been recognised as such, the leader of the single largest opposition party shall be deemed to be the LoP.
  • A search committee, headed by the Law Minister, would propose a panel of names to the selection committee, with eligibility criteria requiring candidates to have held a position equivalent to the secretary to the central government. Persons holding or have held posts equivalent to the rank of secretary to the central government will be eligible to be appointed.
  • The salary, allowances, and other service conditions shall be the same as that of a judge of the Supreme Court.

       In March this year a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Anoop Baranwal vs Union of India unanimously held that the selection of the Chief Election Commissioner(CEC) and the Election Commissioners would be done by a three-member Committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition (or the leader of the largest opposition party in Parliament), and the Chief Justice of India.— and in case there is no such leader, the leader of the largest party in the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. The Supreme Court order highlighted that the guidelines shall be in effect until the Parliament makes a law in consonance with Article 324(2) of the Constitution.

Sukumar Sen was the first Chief Election Commissioner of  India.

 V S Ramadevi was the only woman to head the Election Commission.


The electoral system is based on adult suffrage, whereby every citizen who is not less than 18 years of age can vote. (Art326).

There is single-member territorial constituencies that elect a single representative by a simple majority vote.

                    The Election Commission of India, interalia, is vested with the power of superintendence, direction, and control of conducting the elections to the offices of the President and Vice-President of India. The commission also has the powers of superintendence, direction, and control of the elections to both Houses of Parliament; both Houses of the State Legislature.

                 It delimits the constituencies for elections (Art 82) and allots the numbers of seats to each of them.

                   It advises the President or the Governor on all electoral matters, including questions relating to the disqualifications of the members.

                         The Chief Election Commissioner and the two Election Commissioners draw salaries and allowances at par with those of the Judges of the Supreme Court of India.

                     The Chief Election Commissioner or an Election Commissioner holds office for a term of six years from the date on which he assumes his office.

State Election Commissions

  • The State Election Commission has been entrusted with the function of conducting free, fair and impartial elections to the local bodies in the state.
  • Article 243K(1): It states that the superintendence, direction, and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to the Panchayats (Municipalities under Article 243ZA) shall be vested in a State Election Commission consisting of a State Election Commissioner to be appointed by the Governor.
  • Article 243K(2): It states that the tenure and appointment will be directed as per the law made by the state legislature. However, the State Election Commissioner shall not be removed from his/her office except in like manner and on the like grounds as a Judge of a High Court.

   In Kishan Singh Tomar,2006, the Supreme Court ruled that the powers of the State Election Commission in respect of the conduct of elections are no less than that of the Election Commission of India in their respective domains. These powers are, of course, subject to the law made by Parliament or by State Legislatures provided the same do not encroach upon the plenary powers of the said Election Commissions.


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