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Business News/ Politics / News/  President appoints former IAS officers Gyanesh Kumar, Sukhbir Singh Sandhu as new Election Commissioners
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President appoints former IAS officers Gyanesh Kumar, Sukhbir Singh Sandhu as new Election Commissioners

The two former bureaucrats were picked as new Election Commissioners on March 14 by a panel chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that met here in the national capital.

1988-batch officers Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu are the new Election Commissioners Premium
1988-batch officers Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu are the new Election Commissioners

President Droupadi Murmu on March 14 appointed retired IAS officers Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu as the new Election Commissioners. The two names were picked by a panel chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that met here in the national capital earlier in the day. 

"In exercise of 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 President is pleased to appoint Shri Gyanesh Kumar, IAS(Retd.) and Dr. Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, IAS(Retd.) as Election Commissioners in the Election Commission of India, with effect from the date they assume charge of their office," read a gazette notification issued by Union Ministry of Law and Justice. 

The two vacancies in the Election Commission were created after the retirement of Anup Chandra Pandey in February and the surprise resignation of Arun Goel recently, days ahead of Lok Sabha polls 2024.

Gyanesh Kumar will replace Rajiv Kumar as the next Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) in February 2025.  

Also Read : Who is Sukhbir Singh Sandhu? All you need to know about new election commissioner

The Election Commission is expected to announce the schedule for the April- May Lok Sabha polls in one of these days. The new commissioners will join their offices to help the poll body conduct these polls. The two appointments come day before the Supreme Court is slated to hear petitions challenging the selection process.

Gyanesh Kumar is a 1988-batch IAS officer from the Kerala cadre. Kumar, 60, has worked with Union Home Minister Amit Shah before. He retired as secretary in the Ministry of Cooperation, which comes under Amit Shah, on January 31, 2024. Before that, he also served as the secretary in the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs

Sukhbir Singh Sandhu is also 1998 batch IAS officer but  from Uttarakhand cadre. Sandhu has served as the chief secretary of Uttarakhand when Pushkar Singh Dhami became the Chief Minister in 2021.

Also Read : Meet Gyanesh Kumar, the new Election Commissioner picked by PM Modi-led panel ahead of Lok Sabha Polls

A search committee led by the Union Law Minister prepares a shortlist, as per the current procedure. Thereafter, a selection panel led by the Prime Minister and comprising the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and a Union Minister makes picks the final appointees. 

In March last year, the top court ruled that the PM-led panel must also have the Chief Justice of India as a member. But later, the Union government brought a law to replace the Chief Justice by a Union Minister. 

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Opposition member in the panel, however, questioned the procedure followed and alleged  the government shared the names of six shortlisted candidates with him just 8-10 minutes before the meeting started on Thursday. 

“ I was given a short list of six names and Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal apprised the selection committee of the details of these six officers, the posts that they had held, their administrative record and all. It was said that the committee has to select two names from this list of six officers," Chowdhury was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.

The other names in the list were Utpal Kumar Singh, Pradip Kumar Tripathi, Indevar Pandey and Sudhir Kumar Gangadhar Rahate, all former IAS officers.

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Published: 14 Mar 2024, 07:54 PM IST
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