Sushil Chandra takes over as Chief Election Commissioner of India
14 April 2021
Sushil Chandra on Monday assumed charge as the 24th Chief Election Commissioner of India, succeeding Sunil Arora, who demitted office on 12 April 2021 after completing his tenure.
Chandra has been serving in the Commission as Election Commissioner since 15 February 2019. He has also been a member of the Delimitation Commission since 18 February 2020, looking after delimitation of the union territory of Jammu Kashmir.
Having held several posts in the Income-Tax Department for nearly 39 years, Sushil Chandra had also been CBDT chairman from 1 November 2016 to 14 February 2019.
During his tenure as chairman of CBDT, Chandra has played an active role in unearthing illegal money, often used during assembly elections. With his continuous monitoring the seizures of cash, liquor, freebies, narcotics have increased substantially in recent elections. He has constantly emphasised the concept of "Inducement-Free" elections and it has become an important aspect of monitoring the electoral process in all ongoing and forthcoming elections.
Process of focused and comprehensive monitoring through deployment of Special Expenditure Observers, activating the role of many more enforcement agencies in the process of Election Expenditure monitoring, more exhaustive and frequent reviews of observers and other agencies are some of the aspects of electoral management brought about by him. His contributions are also reflective in systemic changes like the Form 26 that has now become an integral part of essential paperwork. Chandra as Chairman CBDT took special efforts in the area of verification of affidavits filed by the candidates before elections. In 2018 in his role as Chairman CBDT, Chandra was instrumental in evolving a uniform format of sharing details of all assets and liabilities not mentioned in the affidavits of the candidates.
Facilitation through innovative IT applications in election systems has been a unique contribution of Sushil Chandra to the 17th Lok Sabha elections and the legislative assembly elections held since in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim, Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Delhi.
Holding of elections to state assemblies of Bihar, Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal amidst Covid concerns and making processes such as nomination and filing of papers online, extending option of postal ballot to the specific categories of senior citizens, persons with disabilities, essential services personnel as also Covid patients/suspects, has seen Chandra lead from the front with an iron will to work despite challenges.
The ECI family bid a warm farewell to outgoing Chief Election Commissioner, Sunil Arora on 12 April 2021, after completing a tenure of nearly 43 months in Commission and nearly 29 months as CEC.
Bidding farewell to Arora, Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar recalled various initiatives taken up by the Commission during the tenure of Arora like providing optional postal ballot facility to senior citizen and PwD electors, setting up of India A-WEB Centre, and Voluntary Code of Ethics.