Hello everyone, This article is about the Election Commission of India its importance, functions, power, and challenges.
“The ballot is stronger than the bullet.” – Abraham Lincoln
The Election Commission of India is a constitutional body as well as an Independent and permanent body.
It is included in part XV of the constitution and provided in the article 324 To 329.
In a country like India where huge diversity exists, it is a challenge to maintain free and fair elections as well as the inclusion of every section from every corner of the country. So here election commission of India plays a vital role.
Election Commission has given work to conduct the elections of Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha), the election of the state legislature,s and for the office of the President and Vice President.
The Election Commission of India does not conduct the elections at the local level, for this purpose, the state election commissions have been established by every state through the 73rd Amendment Act of the constitution and mentioned in article 243 k.
The power and function of the election commission of India is taken from article 324 to 329 of the constitution.
let’s discuss about these articles one by one:-
This article of the constitution provides the necessary power to the Election Commission of India for the superintendence, direction, and control of the elections in a given mandate.
This article is about one electoral roll for every territorial consistency for election either for Parliament or state legislature means there will be no any special privileges based on religion, race, caste, sex, etc.
Provides the basis of adult suffrage for the election of the House of People (i.e Lok Sabha) and the legislative assembly of every state.
This article provides the power to Parliament to make some provisions with respect to election to state legislature.
It provides power to the state legislatures to make laws related to the election of such legislatures.
It says that interference of courts in the matter of elections is not allowed except by an election petition presented to such authority.
Now we will discuss the appointment of the election commission of India under article 324 and some provisions like the composition of the election commission of India;
- The Election Commission of India consists of one chief election commissioner and two other election commissioners.
- The number of election commissioners will be fixed by the president from time to time.
- The appointment is done by the president.
- President can also appoint a regional commissioner for assistance to the Election Commission with the consultation of the election commission.
- President determines the condition of service and tenure of the office.
One interesting fact is that our Election Commission was established in 1950 and till 1989 it was single-member body but on 16 October 1989, it became a multi-member body because the workload had increased due to reduction in the age from 21 years to 18 years for voting.
but in January 1990 it again became one member body, However, it again changed to a multi-member body in October 1993 till today. At present, it is a multi-member body consisting of one Chief election commissioner and two other Election Commissioners. All have equal Powers, equal salary, and allowances similar to the judge of a Supreme Court.
In case of a difference in opinion between the chief election commissioner and the Election Commissioners, the matter will be decided by the majority.
All the members hold office for 6 year or till the age of 65 whichever is early. However, they can resign and can also be removed from the office before the expiry of their tenure.
Now we will discuss about the state election commissions;
The state election commissions are also a constitutional body, established through the 73rd amendment of the Constitution.
The state election commissions have the responsibility of conducting the elections of panchayats at various levels in their respective states.
Article 243K, provides this power and responsibility to the state election commission. However, it is supplemented by State Law.
The state election commissioner is appointed by the Governor and the condition of service is also determined by Governor.
The state election commissioner can be removed in the same manner and ground as the removal of a judge of high court.
Some more important points about the Election Commission of India (useful for Civil Services exams)
POWER AND FUNCTIONS OF ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA
The power and function of the Election Commission of India can be categorized into the following three types;
- Quasi judiciary
let’s discuss one by one
1. Administrative power
- Preparing electoral roll and revise with time
- Notification date schedule and phases of election
- Recognition to political parties and allocating the symbols to them
- Supervise the election to ensure free and fair election
- Grant status of national and state party on basis of performance in election
2. Advisory power
- To president: on the matter of disqualification of Member of Parliament.
- To Governor: on the matter of disqualification of member of state legislature.
- Request president or Governor for staff for conducting the election.
- Advise the president that election can be held or not in any state where president rule is imposed.
3. Quasi-judicial role
- To determine territorial area of electoral constituency throughout the country on basis of the delimitation commission act.
- Setting dispute related to the recognition of a political party and on party symbol.
- Appointment officer for inquiry into the disputes related to the electoral arrangement.
- Cancelling poll if Election Commission thinks there is an unfair involvement
In a democracy like India it is important to have a body like Election Commission because of the following reasons;
- To uphold constitutionalism like equality, non-discriminatory rule of law, etc.
- There should be a transparent, accountable, responsible and free, and fair election with professionalism.
- Maintenance of electoral governance as well as Unity, integrity, and sovereignty of country.
- Strengthen democracy through the participation of eligible citizens from every corner of the country.
- Bring discipline in political party through action.
Some challenges faced by the Election Commission of India are;
- To control the nexus between money power and muscle power.
- Limited power to derecognize a political party
- Limited power to enforce inter and intra party democracy
- Curbing paid news, fake news, and social media
- Non-transparency in the selection of chief election commissioner and other election commissioners.
- Allegation of EVM hacking.
- Violence in elections.
- The error of inclusion and exclusion in the electoral roll.
- Issue of transparency in electoral bonding
- Technology intervention like facial recognition for voter verification to prevent duplication.
- Inclusion of disabled voters through postal ballot.
- Bring political party registration tracking management system.
- Provide power to derecognize a political party to bring discipline.
- Ceilling on campaigning expenditure on a political party (till now candidates have limit).
- In anti-defection cases bring the Election Commission of India as a stakeholder.
- provide power to curb social propaganda fake news and paid news.
- Remove ghost beneficiary through link voter ID card to Aadhar card.
“The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.” – J F Kennedy”
This article is written by;
Mr. Pankaj Kumar Gupta
(Email ID: [email protected])