Former CECs, ECs write to PM Modi to reconsider new bill on Election Commission

The diminishing of the status of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs) will also erode the international perception of the Election Commission of India (ECI) as an independent body, said seven former top poll officials who penned a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi opposing the new bill presented in Parliament regarding the appointment of the CEC and ECs.

The former officials have urged the Prime Minister to reconsider the bill, Hindustan Times reported.

The Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023, was introduced by the Union government in Rajya Sabha during the last Monsoon Session. The new Bill will remove the Chief Justice of India (CJI) from the earlier formed panel to appoint the CEC and ECs, contrary to a judgement by Supreme Court of India. The Bill also seeks to change salary and allowance structure of top poll officials, thereby altering their service conditions from that of a judge in the top court to a Cabinet secretary.

Earlier while speaking in a webinar organised by non-governmental organisations Satark Nagarik Sangathan and ANHAD, S.Y. Quraishi, former CEC, said: “This would in no way mean giving veto powers to the Leader of Opposition as there is a search committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary which would give a list of shortlisted names to the selection committee and those names would have been vetted by government.”