Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to chair the first meeting to appoint a new Election Commissioner who would replace Anup Chandra Pandey. Notably, Pandey’s term as the Election Commissioner of India gets over with his retirement on 15 February. The meeting by PM Modi will be conducted under the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Act, 2023.
The selection committee of the Prime Minister, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is likely to meet to discuss the replacement of Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey.
Government functionaries aware of the matter told Hindustan Times that law minister Arjun Ram Meghwal and the Congress’s floor leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury were expected to attend the meeting that will be held at the PM’s residential office at 7.30pm.
This will be the first appointment under the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Act, 2023. Till date the CEC, ECs, and all members of Election Commission of India have been appointed by the President of India on the advise of the government.
Under the Act, the Prime Minister, a Union Minister nominated by him, and the Leader of the Opposition or leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha form the selection committee that will recommend a candidate to the President.
The selection process consists of two committees — the three-member selection committee headed by the PM and a three-member search committee headed by the law minister and two secretary-level officers.
The search committee recommends five names to the selection committee, the latter is empowered to pick commissioners from outside the list as well.
During the passage of the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) in the Rajya Sabha on 12 December, the Opposition staged a walkout before the voice vote was held, alleging that its provision were “undemocratic”. The Narendra Modi-led government, however, maintained that the bill was completely in line with the directions of the top court.
The bill was made into an act on 2 January, 2024.
The appointment process is ongoing at a time the ECI has been busy with preparations for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
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