GUWAHATI: Sushil Chandra on Tuesday took charge as the 24th Chief Election Commissioner of India. The 23rd CEC Sunil Arora demitted the office on 12th April after completing his tenure. Sushil Chandra has been serving in the Commission as Election Commissioner since 15 February 2019. Chandra also served as the Chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxation (CBDT) from 1st November 2016 to 14th February 2019. He held several posts in the Income-Tax Department for nearly 39 years.
Sushil Chandra is also Member of Delimitation Commission since 18th February 2020 looking after Delimitation of Jammu Kashmir UT.
Concept of “Inducement-Free” Assembly Elections
During his tenure as Chairman in CBDT itself, Chandra emphasized the concept of “Inducement-Free” elections. He has played an active role in unearthing illegal money often used during Assembly Elections.
His continuous monitoring resulted in substantial increase of seizures of cash, liquor, freebies, narcotics etc. in the recent elections. The concept of Inducement-Free elections has become an important aspect of monitoring the electoral process in all ongoing and forthcoming elections.
The 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 few of the aspects of electoral management encouraged by him.
Facilitation through innovative IT applications in election systems
Chandra’s 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 have been a unique contribution of Sushil Chandra to the 2019 17th Lok Sabha Elections and the Legislative Assembly Elections held since in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim, Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, 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 Sushil Chandra lead from the front with an iron will to work despite challenges.