Election Commission Of India – Power And Functions Of Election Commission of India

  • Election Commission of India is a permanent Constitutional body.Election Commission of India Is established by constitution Of India Directly to ensure free and fair Election in India .
  • Originally the commission had only a Chief Election Commissioner.
  • Since inception in 1950 And Till 15 October 1989 it was a single Member Body , Consisting Chief Election Commissioner of India .
  • In 1989 President of india appoint two more Election Commissioner to Cop with Increased work of election Commission Of India On Account of Lowering voting Age from 21 Years to 18 Years .
  • Thereafter Election Commission Worked As Multiple member body .
  • But Two posts of Election commission were Again abolished In 1990 And Election commission Was Reverted to Earlier Position of Single member Body.
  • Again in 1993 President Appoint two more election commissioners.
  • It currently consists of Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.

Chief Election Commissioner:

  • The President of India appoints the Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.

Service conditions of Chief Election Commissioner:

  • Chief Election Commission shall be appointed for a term of 6 years or till he attain an age of 65 years or which of the two is earlier.
  • He is ineligible for reappointment after his retirement.
  • He is ineligible to hold any office of profit under the State after his retirement.
  • His salary, allowances and pensions are charged under  Consolidated Fund of India (CFI).
  • His salaries, allowances and pensions cannot be reduced except during a financial emergency.

Election Commissioners:

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  • The Election Commissioners are appointed by the President and the President need not have to consult Chief Election Commissioner in this regard.
  • However the Election Commissioners shall not e removed except on the recommendation of Chief Election Commissioner.
  • An Election Commissioner is appointed for a term of 6 years or till he attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • An Election Commissioner is eligible to be appointed as Chief Election Commissioner provided cumulatively his term as CEC and Election Commissioner shall not exceed 6 years.
  • He is not eligible to hold any office of profit after his retirement.

The role of the CEC in the removal of an Election Commissioner:

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  • Article 324(5) states that an Election Commissioner shall not be removed except on the recommendation of the Chief Election Commissioner.

Powers and Functions of Election Commission of India!

(i) Demarcation of Constituencies:

  • To facilitate the process of elections, a country has to be divided into several constituencies.
  • The task of delimiting the constituencies is generally performed by a Delimitation Commission. But the power to delimit parliamentary and Assembly constituencies for the first general elections in 1951 was conferred on the President.
  • The President’s delimitation order was to be released on the advice of the Election Commission which also consulted Parliamentary Advi­sory Committees set by the Speaker of Parliament and the Speaker of the respective legislative Assembly to which the delimitation proposal pertained
  • The Election Commission distributed the seats district-wise in each one of the States and directed the Chief Electoral Officers to prepare proposals for the physical demarcation of Constituencies accord­ing to the prescribed criteria. As on outcome of the recommendation of the Election Commission the Parliament enacted the Delimitation Act, 1952.
  • The Delimitation Commission was to consist of three members, two of whom were the nominated by the President from serving or retired judges of the Supreme Court or High Courts while the Chief Election Commissioner was to be an ex-office member.

(ii) Electoral Rolls:

  • The second important but tedious function of the Election Commission is to prepare for identification the up-to-date list of all the persons who are entitle for voting at the poll.

(iii) Recognition of Political Parties and Allotment of Symbols:

  • A new part (Part IV A) has been added to the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 1951 on registration of political parties. Section 29 A now inserted provides for registration with the Commission, of associations and bodies of individual citizens of India as political parties for purpose of this Act.
  • This provision came into force from June 15, 1989.
  • A recognised political party has been classified either as a National Party or a State Party under paragraph 7 of the Elections Symbol Order, 1968.
  • Another important function of the Election Commission is to allot symbols to the political parties and the candidates, and also to accord recognition to the political parties.
  • The Commission has specified certain symbols as reserved and others as free.
  • The reserved symbols are only available for candi­dates sponsored by the political pin ties and the free symbols are equally available to other candi­dates.

(iv) Scrutiny of the Nomination Papers:

  • It examines the nomination papers of the candidates.
  • These papers are accepted if found in order, but rejected otherwise.
  • This duty is performed by the Returning Officer who notifies to all the contesting candidates the date, time and place for the formal scrutiny of nomination papers.
  • The Returning Officer summarily but judicially examine all the nomination papers and decides the objection raised.
  • He is also to see whether the requisite requirements of security deposit, election symbol, election agent, etc., have also been fulfilled.

(v) The Conduct of the Poll:

  • Article 324 confers on the Election Commission necessary powers to conduct the elections including the power to countermand the poll in a constituency and ordering a fresh poll therein because of hooliganism and breakdown of law and order at the time of polling or counting of votes.

(vi) Election Expenses:

  • Another most controversial function that the Election Commission has perform is to scrutinise the accounts of election expenses submitted by contestants in elections.
  • In India every contesting candidate is required to maintain and file the accounts of his election expenses within a prescribed period after publication of the result of his election.
  • Within 10 days from the last date of filing the returns, the Returning Officer submits to the Election Commission, a list of all the candidates and their agents together with their returns as a also his observations in respect of candi­dates who have failed to lodge returns in the specified time and in accordance with the procedure prescribed by law.
  • The Commission scrutinizes the accounts and decides whether the returns are in proper form and whether they have been lodged in time. In case of default, it notifies the candidates or their agents of their disqualification by publishing these in the official Gazette.

(vii) Advice to President:

  • Advising the President on the question of disqualification if any member of Parliament or advising the Governor on the question of disqualification of a member of a State legislature.