Bill Introduced to Change Chief Election Commissioner Selection Panel Composition

  • 12 Aug 2023

On 10th August, the Union Government presented a Bill in the Rajya Sabha that seeks to alter the composition of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) selection panel, removing the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and introducing a cabinet minister instead.

Key Points:

  • Alteration of CEC Selection Panel: The Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023 proposes changing the CEC selection panel composition.
  • Previous Supreme Court Ruling: A Supreme Court ruling from March mandated that the selection panel should include the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Lok Sabha, and the CJI. This order would remain valid until a new law was enacted by Parliament.
  • Transition from Presidential Appointment: Historically, the President appointed Election Commissioners and CECs based on government recommendations.
  • Upcoming Vacancy and Selection Process: An upcoming vacancy in the Election Commission is expected in February, right before the announcement of the 2024 general election dates.
  • Alternative LoP Designation: If a Leader of Opposition is absent in the Lower House, the leader of the single-largest Opposition party would be considered the LoP for the selection panel.
  • Initial Selection Process: Initially, a list of five candidates would be prepared for consideration by the selection committee for the appointment of CEC and Election Commissioners.