Election Commission of India:-Its functions and Powers

The Election Commission of India was founded on 25 January, 1950. It is a federal sovereign department having complete authority to conduct the electoral process in the India. It is under them only that free and fair elections have been held at regular intervals of time since we got independence.The Election Commission has been provided the complete power by the Constitution of India to supervise, provide directions and control of all the elections whether it belongs to Parliament of India or State Legislatures. Moreover, the elections to the President of India and Vice President of India have to be conducted under the responsibility of Election Commission. According to the Apex Court, where there are insufficient provision to deal with some foreseen circumstances, then Election Commission has complete authority to act in a suitable manner. From starting, The representation of People Act 1950 deals with preparation of the electoral rolls. Subsequently, The Representation of People Act 1951 addresses all the aspects of conducting of elections and disputes regarding them. 

Architecture  :-

From the starting the commission was supervised by Chief Election Commissioner. But on 16th October 1989 it was for the first time in the history of India that Two Additional Commissioners were delegated for short tenure till 1 Jan 1990. According to Election Commission amendment Act 1993,the Election Commission was permanently made a multi-member body. Two additional commissioners were appointed on 01 Oct 1993, which makes the body decision making power by majority vote.   

Objectives & Powers 

The most important part of a Democratic Country is the elections to choose its national leaders. Holding free and fair elections are the bottom lines of the democratic system. EC is also known as the Cerberus of the free and fair elections. The main functions of EC are given below:-

  • It issues the model of Conduct for Political parties and candidate to participate in election in a clean manner.
  • According to law amendment in 1989, it was mandatory for every political party to get registered with them and EC provides a unique Image Symbol to contest in an election.
  • Election Commission fixes the amount of money to be spend by the political parties in election and these limits are revised from time to time. 
  • Observers are being appointed by Election Commissioners to keep a close eye on the candidates activities and doing analysis on their bank accounts.
  • EC is authorized to take details of each candidates assets on affidavit paper at the time of filing nomination.
  • It is completely the discretionary power of the EC to either allow or prohibit the result of opinions or exit polls.

State Election Commission:-

As envisaged in Article 243K of the constitution of India, the power of supervising and control of the elections at the state level vested with the State Election Commissions. As per the 73rd Amendment Act passed in 1992 by P.V Narsimha Rao government which came into effect on 24th April 1993. The motive behind this amendment was to provide constitutional section to establish the “democracy” at the grass root level of the country. 

Objectives and Powers 

State level Election Commission has various unique powers pertaining to elections which are held in states. 
  • SEC chairs the commission which demarcate local government constituencies.
  • It is fully authorized to conduct the local bodies election. .
  • It has right to disqualify the candidates who fails to submit their election accounts and not following moral code of conduct which is set up by Election Commission. 

Modernization in Election Commission :-

The Election Commission is doing a remarkable job in implementing latest technology in the elections. The first attempt to bring improvement in election procedures was done by introducing EVM -(Electronic Voting Machines). The purpose of EVM was to reduce malpractices , improve efficiency and transparency in elections. On experimental basis the EVM was first tried out in the state elections of Kerala Legislative Assembly in year 1982. After having a successful testing and clearing all legal stymies, the EC took the decision to roll out EVM in all elections. Moreover, EC launched its official website on 28th February 1998 which helped the user with accurate information, administration as well as instant results of Election 1998. In 2004’s General Election, it was made mandatory by EC to possess an Election Card while exercising their right to Adult Suffrage. Ration cards and Driving License are also used for going to cast a vote. The introduction of VVPAT (Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail) in eight Lok Sabha Constituencies in 2014 election was a huge success after the Supreme Court Judgment in 2013. VVPAT was implemented in September 2013 elections. The VVPAT was used in the legislative assemblies of the following states:-
  • Mizoram ,2013
  • Delhi , 2013
  • Madhya Pradesh, 2013
  • Rajasthan, 2013
  • Chhattisgarh , 2013
  • Indian General election, 2014
  • Maharashtra , 2014
  • Haryana, 2014
  • Jammu and Kashmir, 2014
  • Jharkhand , 2014

The other appealing feature which appeared on the EVM was an option of NOTA ( None of the Above) on Indian voting machines in 2014 Lok Sabha Elections and now it is a mandatory option in all elections conducted either by State or by Central. The specific symbol for NOTA is a ballot paper with a black cross over it. The symbol was designed by National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad on 18th September, 2015.

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