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President Appoints Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu as New Election Commissioners

President Appoints Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu as New Election Commissioners

New Delhi:  President Droupadi Murmu has appointed retired IAS officers Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu as the new Election Commissioners. The decision comes following a panel chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which convened earlier today in the national capital.

According to a gazette notification issued by the Union Ministry of Law and Justice, the appointments are made under the powers conferred by section 4 of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Act, 2023 (Act No. 49 of 2023).

The vacancies in the Election Commission arose due to the retirement of Anup Chandra Pandey in February and the unexpected resignation of Arun Goel, just days before the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in 2024.

Gyanesh Kumar, a 1988-batch IAS officer from the Kerala cadre, is slated to succeed Rajiv Kumar as the next Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) in February 2025. Kumar, aged 60, has previously served as the secretary in the Ministry of Cooperation and the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. Notably, he has worked closely with Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

On the other hand, Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, a 1998-batch IAS officer from the Uttarakhand cadre, brings a wealth of experience to the role. Sandhu has previously served as the chief secretary of Uttarakhand during Pushkar Singh Dhami’s tenure as Chief Minister in 2021.

The selection process involved a search committee led by the Union Law Minister, which prepared a shortlist of candidates. Subsequently, a selection panel chaired by the Prime Minister, along with the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and a Union Minister, finalized the appointments.

It’s worth noting that a recent legal development stipulated that the Prime Minister-led panel must include the Chief Justice of India as a member. However, the Union government later introduced a law to replace the Chief Justice with a Union Minister in the selection process.

The appointment of Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu is anticipated to bolster the Election Commission’s capacity and integrity as it navigates through the electoral landscape of the nation.

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