Chief Election Commissioner Bill,2023

The Lok Sabha passed the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023 after a brief discussion.

  • (ECs).The Bill was first introduced during the monsoon session in August and came months after a constitution bench of the Supreme Court ruled in March that election commissioners should be appointed by the president based on advice from a committee comprising the prime minister, the leader of opposition (LOP) in the Lok Sabha and the chief justice of India (CJI).
  • The Bill’s passes in the Lok Sabha on Thursday took place after a debate that lasted about an hour and 40 minutes, and in the absence of the 97 opposition MPs who have been suspended for demanding a statement from Union home minister Amit Shah on the parliament security breach last week.

Key Issues and Analysis

The selection process of the Election Commission may be dominated by the government, which has implications for its independence.

  • Accepting the Selection Committee’s recommendations in spite of a vacancy in its constitution may effectively lead to a monopoly of government members in selecting candidates.  
  • Making the CEC and EC’s salary equivalent to the Cabinet Secretary may lead to government influence as it is fixed by the government.  This is unlike the salary of a Supreme Court judge which is fixed through an Act of Parliament.
  • CECs and ECs also perform quasi-judicial functions.   Limiting these posts to senior bureaucrats may exclude other suitable candidates.

Key Features  

Election Commission:  The Election Commission will consist of a Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and other Election Commissioners (ECs).  The President will periodically fix the number of ECs.

Appointment of the Commission:  The Commission will be appointed by the President, upon the recommendation of the Selection Committee.  The Selection Committee will comprise the Prime Minister, Cabinet Minister, and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha (or leader of the single largest opposition party).   A Search Committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary will suggest five names to the Selection Committee.  The Selection Committee may consider any person other than those suggested by the Search Committee.

Eligibility criteria:  The CEC and ECs must: (i) be persons of integrity, (ii) have knowledge and experience in the management and conduct of elections, and (iii) be or have been Secretary (or equivalent) to the government.

Term and reappointment:  Members of the Election Commission will hold office for six years, or until they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.  Members of the Commission cannot be re-appointed.  If an EC is appointed as a CEC, the overall period of the term may not be more than six years.

Salary and pension:  The salary, allowances, and other conditions of service of the CEC and ECs will be equivalent to that of the Cabinet Secretary.  They will have an option to draw pension and other retirement benefits from the service that they belonged to previously.

Removal:  The Bill retains the manner of removal of CEC and ECs as specified in the Constitution.   The CEC may be removed in the same manner and on the same grounds as a Supreme Court Judge.  ECs may be removed only upon the recommendation of the CEC.

CASE COMMENT: Anoop Baranwal V. Union Of India

DATE OF JUDGEMENT: 2nd March, 2023.


Several Public Interest Litigations (PIL) were filed in the Supreme Court to review the manner of appointment of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the light of Article 324. Article 324(2)[1] provides that the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and other Election Commissioners would be appointed by the President of India. Appointments would be made in accordance with the law made by the Parliament on this subject. This provisions contemplates that the Parliament lays down a law prescribing the method by which the Election Commission has to be appointed. However, the Parliament has made no law in this regard even after almost seven decades. The appointments were made on the advice of the Council of Ministers which is headed by the Prime Minister. The petitioners claimed that the absence of any law affected the independence of the Commission. They demanded the apex court to direct the Parliament to formulate a law for the appointment or constitute a body for making recommendations for appointment to ensure the neutrality and transparency of the Election Commission[2].

With respect to the right to vote, the Court observed upon a lengthy discussion on the Constitutional Assembly Debates that founding fathers created a constitutional right to vote for the adult citizens under Article 326. It can be restricted on the grounds of disqualification as mentioned therein. The Court reiterated its ruling in PUCL case[13] where it was held the freedom to vote is a form of expression under Article 19(1)(a)[14].

Challenges faced by Election Commission

Increased violence and electoral malpractices under influence of money have resulted in political criminalization, which ECI is unable to arrest.

Election Commission is not adequately equipped to regulate the political parties. It has no power in enforcing inner-party democracy and regulation of party finances.

ECI is becoming lesser independent of the Executive which has impacted its image.

Allegations of EVMs malfunctioning, getting hacked and not registering votes, corrodes the trust of the general masses in ECI.

Functions of Election Commission

  1. To direct and control the entire Process of conducting elections to

Parliament and Legislature of every State and to the offices of President

And Vice-President of India.

  1. To decide the election schedules for The conduct of periodic and timely Elections, whether general or bye-Elections
  2. To decide on the location of polling Stations, assignment of voters to the Polling stations, location of counting Centres, arrangements to be made in And around polling stations and Counting centres and all allied Matters
  3. To prepare electoral roll and issues Electronic Photo Identity Card (EPIC)
  4. To grant recognition to political Parties & allot election symbols to Them along with settling disputes Related to it
  5. To sets limits of campaign Expenditure per candidate to all the Political parties, and also monitors the Same.


  • The Lok Sabha on Thursday (December 21) passed the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023 that provides for the appointment, salary and removal of the chief election commissioner (CEC) and election commissioners (ECs).

Author : Sneha

College: Bhagat Phool Singh Mahila Vishwavidylaya 

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