Electoral Reforms In India

Arun Goel appointed as Election Commissioner


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Election Commissioner, ECI

Mains level: NA

Former secretary of the Ministry of Heavy Industries Arun Goel has been appointed as the Election Commissioner.

About Election Commission of India (ECI)

  • The ECI is a constitutional body was established by the Constitution of India to conduct and regulate elections in the country.
  • Article 324 of the Constitution provides that the power of superintendence, direction, and control of elections.
  • The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies, State Legislative Councils and the offices of the President and Vice President of the country.
  • Thus, the Election Commission is an all-India body in the sense that it is common to both the Central government and the state governments.
  • The Election Commission operates under the authority of Constitution per Article 324 and subsequently enacted Representation of the People Act.

Composition of ECI

  • The ECI was established in 1950 and originally only had one Chief Election Commissioner.
  • Two additional Commissioners were appointed to the commission for the first time during the 1989 General Election, but they had a very short tenure, ending on 1 January 1990.
  • The Election Commissioners are assisted by Deputy Election Commissioners, who are generally IAS officers.
  • They are further assisted by Directors General, Principal Secretaries, and Secretaries and Under Secretaries.
  • At the state level, Election Commission is assisted by the Chief Electoral Officer of the State, who is an IAS officer of Principal Secretary rank.
  • At the district and constituency levels, the District Magistrates (in their capacity as District Election Officers), Electoral Registration Officers and Returning Officers perform election work.


  • The tenure of election commissioners is not prescribed by Indian Constitution.
  • However, the Election Commission conduct of service Act, 1991 prescribes the term of service.
  • Chief Election Commissioner or an Election Commissioner shall hold office for a term of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier, from the date on which he/she assumes his/her office.

Removal from office

  • The Chief Election Commissioner of India can be represented removed from their office in a manner similar to the removal of a judge of the Supreme Court of India.
  • It requires a resolution passed by the Parliament of India a two-thirds majority in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on the grounds of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.
  • Other Election Commissioners can be removed by the President of India on the recommendation of the Chief Election Commissioner.
  • A Chief Election Commissioner has never been impeached in India.

Recent incidence of criticisms of ECI

Ans. Partiality in Elections

  • Over the last couple of years, several actions and omissions of the commission have come in for criticism.
  • Nearly 66 former bureaucrats in a letter addressed to the President, expressed their concern over the working of the Election Commission.
  • They felt was suffering from a credibility crisis, citing various violations of the model code of conduct during the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections.

Importance of ECI for India

  • Conduction of Election: The ECI has been successfully conducting national as well as state elections since 1952.
  • Electoral participation: In recent years, however, the Commission has started to play a more active role to ensure greater participation of people.
  • Discipline of political parties: It had gone to the extent of disciplining the political parties with a threat of derecognizing if the parties failed in maintaining inner-party democracy.
  • Upholds federalism: It upholds the values enshrined in the Constitution viz, equality,
    equity, impartiality, independence; and rule of law in superintendence, direction, and control over electoral governance.
  • Free and fair elections: It conducts elections with the highest standard of credibility, freeness, fairness, transparency, integrity, accountability, autonomy and professionalism.

Issues with ECI

  • Flaws in the composition: The Constitution doesn’t prescribe qualifications for members of the EC. They are not debarred from future appointments after retiring or resigning.
  • No security of tenure: Election commissioners aren’t constitutionally protected with security of tenure.
  • Partisan role: The EC has come under the scanner like never before, with increasing incidents of breach of the Model Code of Conduct in the 2019 general elections.
  • Political favor: The opposition alleged that the ECI was favoring the ruling party by giving clean chit to the model code of conduct violations made by the PM.
  • Non-competence: Increased violence and electoral malpractices under influence of money have resulted in political criminalization, which ECI is unable to arrest.


Click and get your FREE Copy of CURRENT AFFAIRS Micro Notes

(Click) FREE1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and more

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch