Rajya Sabha, the upper house passed the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service, and Terms of Office) Bill, 2023, on December 12, amid the opposition walkout.
If passed in the Lower House, Lok Sabha, the bill will replace the Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991, covering aspects such as the appointment, salary, and removal of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and other Election Commissioners (ECs).
The legislation ensures that recommendations of this committee will remain valid even in the absence of a full committee.
The bill also states that the salary and perks of CEC and ECs will be at the level of a Supreme Court judge, and the amendment also includes a clause safeguarding the CEC and ECs from civil or criminal proceedings related to actions taken during their tenure.
The bill further seeks to establish a committee to oversee the selection of the members of the Election Commission by the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and a cabinet minister nominated by the PM.
If passed by the Lower House, the bill will nullify the Supreme Court direction of March 2.
On March 2, the Supreme Court issued a direction stating that the President shall appoint the CEC and ECs based on the advice from the high-powered committee of the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, and the Chief Justice of India.
The bill, introduced on August 10 during the Monsoon session, was moved for consideration and passage by Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal on December 12 and was passed amid the opposition walkout.”