Election Commission Of India (ECI)

Why is it in News?

The dates for the General Elections 2019 have been announced by the ECI.

About ECI:

ECI is an autonomous, constitutional authority responsible for administering Union and State election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country. Article 324 of the Indian Constitution deals with ECI.

Appointment & Tenure:

  • The President appoints Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and other Election Commissioners. CEC has tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • At present, the ECI is a three member body including the Chief Election Commissioner.

Salary & Allowances:

  • The expenditure incurred by the ECI is not charged on Consolidated Fund of India (as in case of CAG or Supreme Court); rather it is voted by the parliament.
  • Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (EC) enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Judges of the Supreme Court of India.

What happens if there is a Difference of Opinion on any Issue between CEC & ECs?

It must be kept in mind that there is no provision of Veto for CEC; the decision is taken by the majority of votes.

Is there any Provision available for Removal of CEC/EC?

  • CEC can be impeached in the same way as the judges of Supreme Court, i.e. he can be impeached by a special majority in both the houses of Parliament.
  • ECs can be removed by the President (no impeachment is required for ECs) on the recommendations of CEC.

What are the ways by which ECI can be made Sturdier and Robust in its Functioning?

  • The expenditure incurred by ECI is not charged on Consolidated Fund of India (CFI), rather it is voted by the Parliament which leads to conflict of interest as it has to depend on the government for its budget. The best way to provide more teeth to ECI is to charge its expenditure on CFI.
  • There is no qualification prescribed for the post of CEC/ ECs, due to which it has become the sweet spot to oblige the pliant retired bureaucrats by the government. The need of the hour is to prescribe the qualification for the posts.

Source: TH