Chief Election Commissioner of India
|Chief Election Commissioner of India|
|Nominator||Government of India|
|Appointer||President of India|
|Term length||6 yrs or up to 65 yrs of age
(whichever is earlier)
|Salary||90,000 (US$1,400) monthly23|
|Website||The Election Commission of India|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
The Chief Election Commissioner heads the Election Commission of India, a body constitutionally empowered to conduct free and fair elections to the national and state legislatures. Chief Election Commissioner of India is usually a member of the Indian Civil Service and mostly from the Indian Administrative Service. It is very difficult to remove the authority of the Chief Election Commissioner once elected by the President, as two-thirds of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha need to vote against him for disorderly conduct or improper actions.
Despite the recent changes in the hierarchy, the system always had powers to impose unambiguous rules and guidelines that applied across the entire nation e.g. as to how the ballots will be cast and counted, what will be regarded as 'unqualified' vote (something whose importance became very evident during US presidential election in 2000). India was probably one of the first countries in the World to go for a completely electronic ballot in the last elections. What made this remarkable was the fact that the Office of the Chief Election Commissioner had successfully implemented this across the entire diverse Indian population that also consisted of the rural illiterate people.
While the office has always been an important one in the machinery of the Indian political process, it gained significant public attention during the tenure of T.N. Seshan, from 1990-1996. Mr. Seshan is widely credited with undertaking a zealous effort to end corruption and manipulation in Indian elections. Though he made significant progress, several politicians attempted to derail these efforts. In particular, the expansion of the Election Commission to include the two Election Commissioners (in addition to the Chief Commissioner) was seen as a move to curtail the commissioner's ability to act aggressively.
The President of India (based on a recommendation from incumbent Govt of India) appoints the Chief Election Commissioner. Conventionally, senior-most Election Commissioner is appointed as CEC. He has tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. He enjoys the same official status, salary and perks as available to Judges of the Supreme Court of India and High court. The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed only through impeachment by the Parliament.4
In June 2012, Lal Krishna Advani a veteran Indian politician and former Deputy Prime Minister of India (as well as former Leader of the Opposition in Indian Parliament)5 suggested that appointment of CEC (as well as the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)) should be made by a bipartisan collegium consisting of the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice, the Law Minister and the Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.67 Subsequently, M Karunanidhi, the head of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party and five times Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu8 supported the suggestion. Advani made this demand to remove any impression of bias or lack of transparency and fairness because, according to him, the current system was open to "manipulation and partisanship".67 Similar demand was made by many former CEC's such as B B Tandon, N Gopalaswamy and S Y Quraishi,9 however the government did not seem too keen.10
The salary and other conditions of service of the Chief Election Commissioner is determined by the Parliament of India through "Election Commission (Condition Of Service Of Election Commissions And Transaction Of Business) Act, 1991". As per the act, his salary is the same as salary of a Judge of Supreme Court of India.2
|1 January 2006||90,000 (US$1,400)23|
The following have held the post of the Chief Election Commissioner of India.11
|#||Name||Portrait||Took Office||Left Office|
|1||Sukumar Sen||21 March 1950||19 December 1958|
|2||Kalyan Sundaram||20 December 1958||30 September 1967|
|3||S. P. Sen Verma||1 October 1967||30 September 1972|
|4||Nagendra Singh||1 October 1972||6 February 1973|
|5||T. Swaminathan||7 February 1973||17 June 1977|
|6||S. L. Shakdhar||18 June 1977||17 June 1982|
|7||R. K. Trivedi||18 June 1982||31 December 1985|
|8||R. V. S. Peri Sastri||1 January 1986||25 November 1990|
|9||V. S. Ramadevi||26 November 1990||11 December 1990|
|10||T. N. Seshan||12 December 1990||11 December 1996|
|11||M. S. Gill||12 December 1996||13 June 2001|
|12||J. M. Lyngdoh||14 June 2001||7 February 2004|
|13||T. S. Krishnamurthy||8 February 2004||15 May 2005|
|14||B. B. Tandon||16 May 2005||29 June 2006|
|15||N. Gopalaswami||30 June 2006||20 April 2009|
|16||Navin Chawla||21 April 2009||29 July 2010|
|17||S. Y. Quraishi||30 July 2010||10 June 2012|
|18||V. S. Sampath||10 June 2012||incumbent|
- "Election Commission (Condition Of Service Of Election Commissions And Transaction Of Business) Act, 1991". Vakil No. 1. Archived from the original on 13 January 2010. Retrieved 17 Sept 2012.
- "The High Court and Supreme Court Judges Salaries and Conditions of Service Amendment Bill 2008". PRS India.
- "About ECI". Election Commission of India. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
- "Members Bioprofile". Lok Sabha of India/National Informatics Centre, New Delhi. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
- "Karunanidhi backs Advani's view on collegium to appoint CAG, EC". Times of India. 5 Jun 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
- "Karunanidhi backs Advani's plea for collegium". The Hindu (Chennai). 5 June 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
- "DMK's Official Homepage-Chennai-Tamilnadu-India 800x600 screen resolution". Dmk.in. 9 December 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-24.
- "Collegium needed to select EC: SY Quraishi". Times of India. 16 Jul 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
- "Ex-CECs backed collegium, Law Ministry not too keen". Indian Express. 10 Jun 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
- "Previous Chief Election Commissioners". Election Commission of India.