[Answered] Discuss the significance of the Election Commission’s independence in the context of India’s democratic setup. How does the proposed bill impact this independence?

Introduction: Give brief description of ECI.

Body: Significance of EC & how does the proposed bill impact this independence.

Conclusion: Way forward.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) is an autonomous and permanent constitutional body established under Article 324 responsible for organizing free and fair elections in the Union and States of India. The Constitution grants the ECI the power of direction, superintendence, and control of elections to Parliament, state legislatures, the office of president of India, and the office of vice-president of India. Recently, the Central Government introduced a Bill that proposed that the selection panel for appointing the Election Commission, comprising the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and other Election Commissioners (ECs), will consist of the Prime Minister as the chairperson, the Leader of the Opposition as a member, and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister as another member instead of Chief Justice of India.

Significance of the Election Commission’s independence in India’s democratic setup:

  • Free & fair elections: The ECI is responsible for conducting elections at various levels of government, including national and state elections. Its primary role is to ensure that elections are conducted in a free, fair, and transparent manner, upholding the principles of democracy.
  • Voter registration: The ECI is in charge of overseeing the voter registration procedure and working to inform the populace of the value of voting. This encourages diversity and guarantees that eligible citizens can take part in the political process.
  • Prevention of Electoral Malpractices: The Election Commission of India (ECI) takes action to stop election malpractices like vote manipulation, booth capturing, and corruption. To maintain the integrity of the elections, it sends out observers and prosecutes anyone who violates the law.

How does the proposed bill impact this independence?

  • Full Executive control: The presence of the CJI was required to usher in the impartiality and insulate the appointment process from the Executive’s interference. The present bill gives the executive total control over the appointment process.
  • Issue in order of precedence: The bill specifies that the salary of the CEC would be equivalent to that of the Cabinet Secretary which is the same as that of the SC judge but rank in the warrant of precedence is being reduced.
  • Protection of EC: One extremely important provision of the Bill is that it seeks to protect the two Election Commissioners from removal, bringing them on par with the CEC. They can be removed through a process of impeachment like a SC judge.
  • Qualification of EC: The fact that the CEC and other ECs will be chosen from “persons who are holding or have held a post equivalent to that of secretary and shall be persons of integrity, who have knowledge of and experience in the management and conduct of elections” is another positive aspect of the Bill.


In the current national and international climate, maintaining the institutional autonomy of the EC is crucial. Trust in electoral institutions has been declining everywhere. The Indian Election Commission has long served as a shining example of democracy around the world. To maintain this reputation, we must make sure all the necessary protections are in place to dispel any doubts about its reliability and standing.

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