Why in News?
The Supreme Court recently sought the Attorney-General’s assistance on a PIL petition pointing out the vagueness in the procedure for removal of Election Commissioners, saying it affects the Election Commission’s autonomy.
FACTS FOR PRELIMS
Article 324 of the Constitution states that “The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to Parliament and to the Legislature of every State and of elections to the offices of President and Vice President held under this Constitution shall be vested in a Commission”
i) As per the constitution, the Election Commission shall consist of the Chief Election Commissioner and such number of other Election Commissioners, as the President may from time to time fix.
ii)The Election Commissioner Amendment Act, 1989 made the Commission a multi-member body. The concept of a 3-member Commission has been in operation since then, with the decisions being made by a majority vote.
The Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commissioners have tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65, whichever is earlier, and enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Supreme Court judges.
Article 324 (5) of the Constitution safeguards the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) from arbitrary removal i.e. Chief Election Commissioner shall not be removed from his office except in like manner and on the like grounds as a Judge of the Supreme Court.
However, it is silent on the procedure for removal of the election commissioner and only states that they cannot be removed from office except on the recommendation of the CEC.