Seventy-three years after the Indian Constitution came into force, establishing the Election Commission (EC) and deeming that appointments to it would be “subject to the provisions of any law made in that behalf by Parliament,” the government has moved a Bill to govern how the chief election commissioner (CEC) and other election commissioners are appointed. As an effort to plug a legal gap, the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023, up for a Rajya Sabha nod, is welcome. It holds an opportunity to put the appointment process above reproach. For too long, many aspects of it have been too opaque, leading to accusations of bias and judicial proceedings. The EC, led by a CEC and two other commissioners, is much too critical a body for the functioning of India’s democracy and integrity of elections to leave exposed to charges of external influence.
#retain #structural #neutrality #chiefs