Why in News?
ECI is in news following the remarks of Madras High Court that ECI is responsible for present pandemic situation in India.
About the Election Commission of India
- The ECI is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible to administer Union and State election processes in India.
- The body administers elections to:
- Lok Sabha,
- Rajya Sabha,
- State Legislative Assemblies in states of India,
- Offices of the President and Vice President in the country.
- Elections to panchayats and municipalities in the states are conducted by another constitutional body i.e., State Election Commission. Hence such elections are not responsibility of SEC.
Composition of ECI:
- Initially, ECI had only one election commissioner but post the Election Commissioner Amendment Act 1989, it has been made a multi-member body.
- The ECI consists of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and such number of other election commissioners, as the President may from time to time fix.
- Presently, ECI consists of the CEC and two other Election Commissioners.
- At the state level, Chief Electoral Officer assists ECI. (Not to be confused with State Election Commissioners who conduct panchayat and municipal elections)
Appointment & Tenure of Commissioners:
- The President appoints the CEC and other Election Commissioners.
- They have a fixed tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
- They enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as given to theJudges of the Supreme Court (SC) of India.
- They can resign anytime by writing to the President of India or can also be removed before the expiry of their term.
- As per Constitution, the CEC can only be removed from office only through a process of removal similar to that of a SC judge by the Parliament.
Procedure of Removal
- He may be removed from office through a motion adopted by Parliament on grounds of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.
- Removal requires a special majority of 2/3rd members present and voting with support by more than 50% of the total strength of the house.
- The Constitution has not prescribed any qualifications for the members of the Election Commission.
- It also has not specified the term of the members of the Election Commission.
The Constitution has also not debarred the retiring election commissioners from any further appointment by the