Electoral Reforms In India

Explained: Dissent in the Election Commission


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ECI and its composition

Mains level : Read the attached story

  • Election Commissioner has dissented with the opinion of his colleagues in the Election Commission in five different matters pertaining to alleged violations of the Model Code of Conduct.

Business of ECI

  • Section 10 (Disposal of business by Election Commission) of The Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991, lays down that “all business of the EC shall, as far as possible, be transacted unanimously”.
  • Dissent is, however, provided for in the Act itself, which says: “If the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and other Election Commissioners (ECs) differ in opinion on any matter, such matter shall be decided according to the opinion of the majority”.


  • The Election Commission of India draws its authority from the Constitution itself.
  • Under Article 324, the powers of “superintendence, direction and control of elections” are to be vested in an Election Commission.
  • The CEC and ECs are appointed by the President to a 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 judges of the Supreme Court of India.
  • All three Election Commissioners have equal say in the decision making of the Commission.

Members of the ECI

  • The Constitution does not, however, fix the size of the Election Commission.
  • Article 324(2) says that “the Election Commission shall consist of the Chief Election Commissioner and such number of other Election Commissioners, if any, as the President may from time to time fix”.
  • From the beginning, the Election Commission of India consisted of just the Chief Election Commissioner.
  • However, on October 16, 1989, the Congress government of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi appointed two more Election Commissioners, making the Election Commission a multi-member body.
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