Rajiv Kumar to take over as Chief Election Commissioner

Rajiv Kumar: Rajiv Kumar, an officer of the 1984 batch of the Indian Administrative Service of the Bihar/Jharkhand cadre has been appointed as the next Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) in the Election Commission of India (ECI).

Key Highlights:

  • Kumar will take charge of the office from the 15th of May, 2022.
  • He will be replacing Sushil Chandra who conducted the last five state assembly elections in 2022.
  • Sushil Chandra will demit the Office of the Chief Election Commissioner on 14th of this month.

About Rajiv Kumar:

  • Mr. Kumar has been a member of the three-person Election Commission of India since September 1, 2020.
  • Prior to that, he served as the chairman of the Public Enterprises Selection Board.
  • He retired from the civil service in February 2020 from the post of Union Finance Secretary.

Who has the power to appoint the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC and Election Commissioners (ECs)?

  • The power to appoint the CEC and the ECs lies with the President of India under Article 324(2) of the Constitution.
  • Article 324(2) states that “the President shall fix the number of ECs in a manner he sees fit, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament”.
  • Thus, Article 324(2) left it open for the Parliament to legislate on the issue.
  • However, in the absence of any Parliamentary law governing the appointment issue, the ECs are appointed by the government of the day, without pursuing any consultation process. There is no concept of collegium and no involvement of the opposition.