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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 30 November, 2022

  • 6 Min Read

Election Commission Of India

Election Commission Of India

The Chief Election Commissioners' terms have decreased from more than eight years in the 1950s to less than three hundred days since 2004, according to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, which asserted that the government only declares its support for the independence of election commissioners on the lips.

What does the Indian Election Commission do?

  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) is an independent constitutional body in charge of managing India's Union and State election processes.
  • The Constitution was established on January 25, 1950, which is also known as National Voters' Day. The commission's secretariat is located in New Delhi.
  • The organisation oversees elections for the President and Vice President of India as well as the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, and State Legislative Assemblies.
  • Elections to panchayats and municipalities in the states are unrelated to it. A separate State Election Commission is made available for this purpose by the Indian Constitution.

Provisions of the Constitution:

  • Part XV of the Indian Constitution (Articles 324–329). It addresses elections and creates a panel to handle these issues.
  • Article 324: An Election Commission is responsible for overseeing, directing, and controlling elections.
  • No one may be denied inclusion in, or assert membership in, a special electoral roster on the basis of their religion, ethnicity, caste, or sex, according to Article 325.
  • Elections for the House of the People and state legislative assemblies must follow Article 326, which mandates adult suffrage.
  • Article 327: Parliament's authority to enact legislation governing legislative elections.
  • Article 328: A State's legislature has the authority to establish rules governing elections for that legislature.
  • Article 329: Courts may not interfere with electoral processes.

Structure of ECI:

  • The Election Commissioner Amendment Act of 1989 changed the commission from being a single-member body to one with multiple members.
  • The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and any additional election commissioners, if any, that the President may occasionally fix make up the Election Commission.
  • There are two Election Commissioners and the CEC on it at the moment.
  • The Chief Electoral Officer, an IAS rank Officer, assists the electoral commission at the state level.

Commissioners' Appointment & Terms of Office:

  • The CEC and Election Commissioners are chosen by the President.
  • Their set term is for six years, or until they reach 65 years old, whichever comes first.
  • They have the same privileges and position as Indian Supreme Court (SC) judges, including the same pay and benefits.
  • Removal: They are eligible to quit at any time or be dismissed before their term is out.
  • Only through a procedure identical to that used by Parliament to remove a SC judge from office can the CEC be removed from office.
  • Limitations: The Constitution does not specify the legal, academic, administrative, or judicial qualifications of the Election Commission members.
  • The Election Commission members' terms are not outlined in the Constitution.
  • The Constitution does not prohibit the government from appointing the retiring election commissioners again.

What are the ECI’s responsibilities and authority?

Administrative:

  • Based on the Delimitation Commission Act of Parliament, set the territorial boundaries of all electoral constituencies in the nation.
  • The creation and routine revision of electoral records, as well as the registration of all eligible voters.
  • To recognise political parties and assign them election symbols.
  • Through strict adherence to a Model Code of Conduct developed with the agreement of political parties, the Election Commission assures that all political parties competing in elections are on equal footing.
  • It makes decisions about the election timetables for general elections and bye-elections.

Quasi-judicial Functions & Advisory Jurisdiction:

  • In accordance with the Constitution, the Commission has advisory jurisdiction over the post-election disqualification of sitting members of the State Legislatures and the Parliament.
  • The President or, as applicable, the Governor to whom such opinion is submitted is bound by the Commission's opinion in all such matters.
  • Additionally, the SC and High Courts submit instances involving individuals found accountable for corrupt actions during elections to the Commission for advice on whether they should be disqualified and, if so, for how long.
  • The Commission has quasi-judicial authority to resolve conflicts involving the splintering or merging of recognised political parties.
  • A candidate who fails to file an account of his election expenses within the deadline and in the manner specified by law may be disqualified by the Commission.

Source: The Indian Express


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