Maharashtra’s First Woman Election Commissioner passed away

On July 16, 2020 the former IAS officer and the first woman election commissioner of Maharashtra Smt Neela Satyanarayan passed away. The 1972 batch officer was admitted at the Seven Hills Hospital, Mumbai after she was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Highlights

Neela Satyanarayan retired in 2014. She has penned more than 150 songs. Also, she has composed music for several Marathi movies. The officer just like every other election commissioners faced several challenges in her career.

The GoI has constituted several committees and brought about law reforms to keep up the autonomy of these executives.

Recommendations: Changes in Election Commissions

The second administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) recommends that the state election commissioner should be recommended by the Governor based on the recommendation made by a collegium. The Collegium should comprise of Chief Minister, Leader of Opposition of Legislative Assembly and the speaker of state legislative assembly.

The 255th report on Electoral Reforms prepared by the Law Commission recommends that a new sub clause should be included in the constitution to provide an independent and permanent secretariat to the Election Commission of India and also to the State Election Commission. This will help to ensure autonomy of the commission and also help in conducting free and fair local body election.

State Election Commission

Under Article 243, the State Election Commission is vested with the powers to control, direct and prepare electoral rolls of all Panchayats and Municipalities. The State Election Commissioner, who heads the commission is appointed by the Governor of the state.

The article also states that the tenure and appointment of the state election commissioner is directed according to the law made by the state legislature.

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