Should Civil Servants be appointed as State Election Commissioners? - ForumIAS

Should Civil Servants be appointed as State Election Commissioners?

Justice Nariman has recently said that bureaucrats should not be appointed a state election commissioners because they may not be neutral given that are employees of the government. Do you agree ?

curious_kid,Neyawnand2 otherslike this


Do we have judicial exams students here ? :pensive:


Would it be better to make a separate service system whose main area of work is to conduct election at all levels? But given they are conducted every 5 years, it does not seem wise.

Then other then bureaucrats who would have better experience to conduct elections in India? One solution that I can think of is the appointment of retired officials as EC for a single tenure only who would be appointed by committee comprising members from government, judiciary and opposition.


State of Goa vs Fauzia Imtiuaz Sheikh case : Goa's Law Secretary was given'additional charge'as SEC, Goa. 

@Neyawn if preparing for a week counts then yes!

@mehuifs Justice Nariman's comments came in the context of Goa where a serving officer was holding additional charge as SEC. Contrast it with Andhra, where the SEC has been at loggerheads with the govt(you can't expect such actions from serving officers, that too on holding additional charge). Plus, SEC is a constitutional post(shows how highly state govts think of local bodies).

@Caesar Yes, that's why I said retired officials should be appointed as EC.

@mehuifs and committee idea was nice including judiciary.



My 2 cents. 

Other alternatives do not look quite promising either. 

1. Appointing Judicial officers may appear to be a godsend panache, but doesn't come with guaranteed political neutrality ( now we know). Plus, given  the frail condition of our judiciary, we will do better than diverting the scarce human resources there,  towards elections. 

2. Appointing retired government officials is at best a band aid job. The controversy around Navin chawla, Ashok Lavasa etc show that one need not to be an active government servant to be political biased ( or at least perceived to be one).

Moreover, if looked from an administrative point of view, serving government officials may be in a better position to manage and conduct elections, logistics etc. How judiciary's intervention further botched up Assam's NRC ( for example) is an  open secret. 

Such questions, therefore, have no easy answers. We might be tempted to say NO, but without a constructive alternative it means nothing. As good as Chai pe charcha in Karol Bagh lanes😃

Caesar,AJ_and1 otherslike this

If CEC of ECI can be retired bureaucrats why not the SEC given though they should be appointed through a 3 member panel CM,Leader of opposition of Vidahan sabha & CJ HC ,the service & removal conditions same as HC judge (same sort of recommendation law commission for CEC too) ; one more safeguard can be added that the person concerned should be retired from some other state cadre and the appointing state should not be its home state too.

There can be altogether other way for it is that there should be only ECI in India no State Election Commission & ECI should have its regional office at desired places & ECI would be responsible for all elections in India from Panchyati Raj to Presidential office and the officials to be recruited directly by UPSC and they all should be trained professionals for conducting elections; the regional head should be of EC rank , service conditions similar to HC judge & CEC having service conditions similar to SC Judge.

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