Report No. 255
6.12.1. Given the importance of maintaining the neutrality of the ECI and to shield the CEC and Election Commissioners from executive interference, it is imperative that the appointment of Election Commissioners becomes a consultative process.
6.12.2. To this end, the Commission adapts the Goswami Committee's proposal with certain modifications. First, the appointment of all the Election Commissioners (including the CEC) should be made by the President in consultation with a three-member collegium or selection committee, consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition of the Lok Sabha (or the leader of the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha in terms of numerical strength) and the Chief Justice of India. The Commission considers the inclusion of the Prime Minister is important as a representative of the current government.
6.12.3. Second, the elevation of an Election Commissioner should be on the basis of seniority, unless the three member collegium/committee, for reasons to be recorded in writing, finds such Commissioner unfit.
6.12.4. Such amendments are in consonance with the appointment process in Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, the Right to Information Act, 2005 and the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003.
6.12.5. Pursuant to Article 324(2), an amendment can be brought to the existing Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991 to amend the title and insert a new Chapter 1A on the appointment of Election Commissioners and the CEC as follows:
- Act and Short Title: The Act should be renamed the "Election Commission (Appointment and Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991".
- The short title should state, "An Act to determine the appointment and conditions of service of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners and to provide for the procedure for transaction of business by the Election Commission and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto."
- Chapter I-.- Appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.
2A. Appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioner.- (1) The Election Commissioners, including the Chief Election Commissioners, shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal after obtaining the recommendations of a Committee consisting of:
(a) the Prime Minister of Indi.- Chairperson
(b) the Leader of the Opposition in the House of the Peopl.- Member
(c) the Chief Justice of Indi.- Member
Provided that after the Chief Election Commissioner ceases to hold office, the senior-most Election Commissioner shall be appointed as the Chief Election Commissioner, unless the Committee mentioned in sub-section (1) above, for reasons to be recorded in writing, finds such Election Commissioner to be unfit.
Explanation.- For the purposes of this sub-section, "the Leader of the Opposition in the House of the People" shall, when no such Leader has been so recognised, include the Leader of the single largest group in opposition of the Government in the House of the People.