The Election Commission of India is a constitutional body that administers the elections in India according to the rules and regulations mentioned in the Constitution of India. The Election Commission of India was established on January 25, 1950. The main aim of the election commission of India is to define and control the process for elections conducted at various levels, Parliament, State Legislatures, and the offices of the President and Vice President of India. It can be said that the Election Commission of India ensures smooth and successful operation of democracy.
According to Article 324 of Indian Constitution, the Election Commission of India has superintendence, direction, and control of the entire process for conduct of elections to Parliament and Legislature (state legislative assembly & state legislative council) of every State and to the offices of President and Vice-President of India.
Initially, the commission had only a Chief Election Commissioner. Presently, the Election Commission of India Consists of a Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners. Two additional Commissioners were appointed on 16th October 1989 for the first time, but they had a very short term till 1st January 1990. Later, on 1st October 1993 two additional Election Commissioners were appointed. The concept of multi-member Commission has been in operation since then, with decision-making power by majority vote.
Role of Election Commission of India
Election commission plays a vital role in conducting elections. The implementation of norms and the Model Code of Conduct to ensure free and fair elections in the country is the major challenge of the Election Commission of India. ECI has also been empowered to supervise political parties and the candidates and to take appropriate action in case of violations of the norms set by the ECI.
Functions and Powers of the Election Commission of India
Functions of the Election Commission of India are as follows:
- The Election Commission of India is considered to be the guardian of free and reasonable elections.
- It issues the Model Code of Conduct in every election for political parties and candidates so that the decorum of democracy is maintained.
- It regulates political parties and registers them for being eligible to contest elections.
- It publishes the allowed limits of campaign expenditure per candidate to all the political parties, and also monitors the same.
- It guarantees that all the political parties regularly submit their audited financial reports.
Powers of the Election Commission of India are as follows:
- The Commission can repress the results of opinion polls if it deems such an action fit for the cause of democracy.
- The Commission can recommend disqualification of members after the elections if it thinks that they have violated certain guidelines.
- In case, a candidate is found guilty of dishonest practices during the elections, the Supreme Court and High Courts consult the Commission.
- The Commission can postpone candidates who fail to submit their election expense accounts timely.
The Duties of the Election Commission of India
- To supervise, direct, control and conduct all elections to Parliament and State Legislatures as also to the office of the President and Vice- President of India.
- To set down general rules for election.
- To determine constituencies and to prepare electoral rolls.
- To give credit to political parties.
- To allot election symbols to different political parties and individual contestants.
- To appoint tribunals for the decision of doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with election to parliament and State Legislatures.
Over the years, the Election Commission has conducted a number of admirable electoral reforms to strengthen democracy and enhance the fairness of elections. These reforms are quite adequate and admirable. Our election commission tries its best to weed out the virus of malpractices. It is optimistic of strengthening and improving the working of democracy through free and fair elections. It has always devised better systems and is using advanced scientific technologies for maintaining the high reputation of the Indian elections. However, the success of reforms will largely depend upon the will of the political parties to adhere to and implement such reforms. If people vote according to their convictions and punish those who infract the rules, corrupt practices will automatically disappear. And this will go a long way towards enabling democracy to flourish and grow to its full capacity.
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