The government tabled the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointments, Conditions of Service, Term of Office) Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
Features of the bill
- Appointment Committee- A Bill introduced in the Rajya Sabha says the committee will consist of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and a Union Cabinet Minister.
- Search Committee- It proposes a search committee, headed by the Cabinet Secretary, with two other members not below the rank of secretary to prepare a panel of five members for the consideration of the Selection Committee.
- Qualification- CEC and other ECs will be appointed from “amongst persons who are holding or have held a post equivalent to the rank of secretary and who have knowledge of and experience in the management and conduct of elections”.
Misgivings of The Election Commission
- Delayed result- In the runup to the 2019 general election, the announcement of elections was delayed for a month between February and March, allowing the government to inaugurate many projects.
- Model Code of Conduct-The Model Code of Conduct was unevenly implemented, with the ruling party receiving favourable treatment by the ECI, leading to dissent by one of the commissioners.
- Question on Autonomy- The independent VDem Institute in Sweden, which compares democracies worldwide, has downgraded India to an “electoral autocracy”, citing the loss in autonomy of the ECI.
- Inclusion of a Judicial member - The appointment committee should include the chief justice of India as recommended by the SC and various committees to ensure transparency.
- Unanimous verdict - The collegium system will be all the more credible if a unanimous verdict is added as a precondition to the appointment.
- Consultation - All the organs of the government should be consulted to make the election body like shining armour.