The Election Commission of India

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The Election Commission of India is an autonomous, quasi-judiciary constitutional body of India.It was established on 25 January 1950 under Article 324 of the Constitution of India. Originally the commission had only a Chief Election Commissioner. The commission presently consists of a Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners, appointed by the president.

The President appoints Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners. They have 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 cannot be removed from office, except on the grounds and in the manner on which the Supreme Court judges can be removed. However, since the other Election Commissioners and the Regional Election Commissioners work under the Chief Commissioner, they may be removed by the President on his recommendations.

The Commission conducts elections in accordance with the constitutional provisions, supplemented by laws made by Parliament. The major laws include Representation of the People Act, 1950, which mainly deals with the preparation and revision of electoral rolls, the Representation of the People Act, 1951 which deals, in detail, with all aspects of conduct of elections and post election disputes.

Functions of The Election Commission of India

  • The Superintendence, Direction and Control of Election
  • Preparation of Electoral Rolls
  • To declare the date of Election
  • To reognise and derecognise Political Parties
  • To prepare code of conduct for Political Parties
  • Control over the staff connected with Election
  • To conduct Election
  • To establish Polling Stations
  • Safety of Ballot Boxes and Counting
  • To declare ineligible for contesting Election
  • To order Re-poll
  • To issue Direction

Electoral Reforms can be achieved by two types of measures: Preventive and Punitive

  • Preventive
    • Advertisements in the press to be issued to educate voters of their rights and responsibilities, besides highlighting ethical voting
    • Meetings with NGOs and citizens’ forums and appeal to political parties and candidates for self-restraint
  • Punitive
    • CEOs of the state would identify those constituencies which were prone to high expenditure and corrupt practices. Large number of assistant expenditure observers and more number of flying squads and surveillance teams would be posted in these constituencies
    • Expenditure observer to be appointed for each district
    • Each candidate to open a separate account for election expenditure
    • All election expenditure are to be incurred by issuing cheques
    • Banks would be required to report to the Commission any suspicious withdrawal of money exceeding Rs 1 lakh
    • Set up a 24*7 call centre and complaint monitoring mechanism
    • Static surveillance teams would keep a watch on large quantities of cash or illicit liquor or any suspicious item being carried in the constituencies
    • District level media certification and monitoring committees would go into the entire process of media advertisements to check paid news

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