Election Commission of India: The election commission is a permanent and independent body established by the constitution of India directly to ensure free and fair elections in the country. Article 324 provides that The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, and State Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country.
Election Commission of India – Major Roles & Functions!
Article 324 of the constitution has made the following provisions with regard to the composition of election commission.
- Initially, the commission had only one election commissioner but after the Election Commissioner Amendment Act 1989, it has been made a multi-member body.
- The commission consists of one Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.
- The secretariat of the commission is located in New Delhi.
- The President appoints Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.
- The constitution has not prescribed the qualifications of the members of the election commission.
- The constitution has not specified the term of the members of the election commission.
- They enjoy the same powers emoluments including salaries, which are the same as a Supreme Court judge of India.
- They have a fixed tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
- The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only through a process of removal similar to that of a Supreme Court judge by Parliament.
- Election Commission of India superintendents, direct and control the entire process of conducting elections to Parliament and Legislature of every State and to the offices of President and Vice-President of India.
- The most important function of the commission is to decide the election schedules for the conduct of periodic and timely elections, whether general or bye-elections.
- It prepares electoral roll, issues Electronic Photo Identity Card (EPIC).
- It decides on the location polling stations, assignment of voters to the polling stations, location of counting centres, arrangements to be made in and around polling stations and counting centres and all allied matters.
- It grants recognition to political parties & allot election symbols to them along with settling disputes related to it.
- The Commission also has advisory jurisdiction in the matter of post election disqualification of sitting members of Parliament and State Legislatures.
- It issues the Model Code of Conduct in election for political parties and candidates so that the no one indulges in unfair practice or there is no arbitrary abuse of powers by those in power. It sets limits of campaign expenditure per candidate to all the political parties, and also monitors the same.
Independence of the Election commission:
- The CEC is provided with security of tenure. He can’t be removed from his office except in same manner and on the same grounds as a judge of Supreme Court.
- The service of conditions of CEC cannot be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.
- Any other election commissioner or regional commissioner cannot be removed from office except on the recommendation of the CEC.