Election Commission of India

The Election Commission

The Election Commission of India has been set up in line with the Constitution. It is extremely important to hold free and fair elections at regular intervals. The Election Commission is a body that supervises the process of holding elections in the country.

Composition of the Election

The Election Commission of India At present consists of a Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and two other members.

Appointment

The CEC and other commissioners are appointed by the President of India on the advice of the Prime Minister. The Regional Election Commissioners are appointed by the President in consultation with the Election Commission.

Term of Office and Conditions of Service

  • The members of the Election Commission are appointed for a term of six years. During their tenure, if they attain the age of 65 years, they have to resign from office.
  • The salary of the CEC and other commissioners is equal to the salary of a judge of a Supreme Court. They are also entitled to pension after retirement.
  • Any difference in opinion between the CEC and other commissioners is decided in favour of the majority of opinion.
  • Also Read Constitution – Directive Principles of State Policy

Powers and Functions of the Election Commission

  • It prepares the electoral rolls and photo identity cards. It also prepares the voting list after identifying eligible voters in an area.
  • It gives recognition and allots symbols to the political parties.
  • It fixes the dates of the elections. It can refuse to hold elections in a constituency during a particular duration to ensure free and fair elections.
  • One of the most important functions of the Election Commission is to conduct elections in a free and fair manner. It ensures holding of free and fair elections in the following ways:
  • It sends central observers to the constituencies where there is a danger of violence to ensure that voting takes place freely without any fear.
  • It may countermand polling if it is sure that some malpractices have been used while polling.
  • The Commission in recent amendments to the Representative of Peoples Act has prescribed harsh punishment for booth capturing.
  • It appoints polling officers for the constituencies. It appoints the Returning Officer whose responsibility is to examine the nomination forms submitted by contestants and declare them fit for contesting elections.
  • The Commission announces the date of election, the date of filing nomination papers and the withdrawal of nominations by contestants.
  • It also scrutinises the accounts of election expenses submitted by contestants.
  • The Election Commission advices the President or Governors of the state in regard to electoral matters, election disputes and disqualification of members.