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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 22 March, 2021

  • 6 Min Read

Allotting Election Symbol by SC

The Supreme Court dismissed the special petition challenging the Kerala HC judgments that upheld the Election Commission of India's order allotting the 'Two Leaves' symbol to Kerala Congress (M).

  • The Election Commission (EC) has plenary powers under Article 324 of the Constitution to decide on the allotment of symbols.
  • Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, empowers the EC to allot symbols to the political parties at elections in Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies.
  • For the purpose of this Order symbols are either reserved or free.
  • Reserved symbol is a symbol which is reserved for a recognised political party for exclusive allotment to contesting candidates set up by that party.
  • Free symbol is a symbol other than a reserved symbol.

Election Commission

  • The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering Union and State election processes in India.
  • The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, and State Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country.

Background

  • Part XV of the Indian constitution deals with elections, and establishes a commission for these matters.

Articles related to Elections

  • 324 - Superintendence, direction and control of elections to be vested in an Election Commission.
  • 325 - No person to be ineligible for inclusion in, or to claim to be included in a special, electoral roll on grounds of religion, race, caste or sex.
  • 326 - Elections to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assemblies of States to be on the basis of adult suffrage.
  • 327 - Power of Parliament to make provision with respect to elections to Legislatures.
  • 328 - Power of Legislature of a State to make provision with respect to elections to such Legislature.
  • 329 - Bar to interference by courts in electoral matters.

Structure of the Commission

  • Originally the commission had only one election commissioner but after the Election Commissioner Amendment Act 1989, it has been made a multi-member body.
  • The commission consists of one Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.
  • At the state level election commission is helped by Chief Electoral Officer who is an IAS rank Officer.
  • The President appoints Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.
  • They have a fixed tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • They enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Judges of the Supreme Court of India.
  • The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only through a process of removal similar to that of a Supreme Court judge for by Parliament.

Procedure of Removal

  • Judges of High Courts and Supreme Court, CEC, Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) may be Removed from office through a motion adopted by Parliament on grounds of ‘Proven misbehaviour or incapacity’.
  • Removal requires special majority of 2/3rd members present and voting supported by more than 50% of the total strength of the house.
  • The term ‘Impeachment’ is only used for removing the President which requires the special majority of 2/3rd members of the total strength of both the houses which is not used elsewhere.

Recognizing a National Party

The Election Commission lists political parties as “national party”, “state party” or “registered (unrecognised) party”.

  • The conditions for being listed as a national or a state party are specified under the Election Symbols Order, 1968.

For recognition as a NATIONAL PARTY, the conditions specified are:

  • a 6% vote share in the last Assembly polls in each of any 4 states, as well as 4 seats in the last Lok Sabha polls; or
  • 2% of all Lok Sabha seats in the last such election, with MPs elected from at least three states; or
  • recognition as a state party in at least four states.

For recognition as a STATE PARTY, any one of 5 conditions needs to be satisfied:

  • 2 seats plus a 6% vote share in the last Assembly election in that state; or
  • 1 seat plus a 6% vote share in the last Lok Sabha election from that state; or
  • 3% of the total Assembly seats or 3 seats, whichever is more; or
  • 1 of every 25 Lok Sabha seats (or an equivalent fraction) from a state; or
  • an 8% state-wide vote share in either the last Lok Sabha or the last Assembly polls.

Source: TH


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