Elections in India are an integral part of Indian democracy. Election Commission of India (ECI) was formed in 1950 in a bid to ensure free and fair elections in the country. However, the role of this unique body is immense today as it organizes Lok Sabha, State Assembly, and Panchayat elections after a span of certain years.
From updating voters list, distributing, voter ID cards, keeping political parties at bay from interfering into the democratic process, and much more, the responsibility and function of ECI is immense today. Let’s find out more about how ECI ensures free and fair elections in the country and how its powers are managed by the Constitution of India.
Election Commission of India (ECI)
The President of India appoints a Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and two Election Commissioners to form a three-member team in the ECI. The idea of 3 commissioners was rolled to ensure that decisions were taken on a majority vote.
There is a Regional Election Commissioner for a particular area. Each state has local election commission officers, booth level officers, and others who are responsible for various tasks done during an election. On the advice of the commissioners, the President or the governor appoints further officers and staff to carry out the tasks of executing elections.
Supreme Power of ECI
Although the powers of ECI is immense as it is independent of political parties and not bound by the authority of the government, yet it can still be overpowered by the parliament as no authority in a democracy can be autocratic.
If proven guilty for failure and misconduct, the ECI can be removed by the parliament. Two-third of the majority in both the Houses must affirm the removal of the ECI. The three commissioners have similar rights in making decisions regarding elections and draw salaries similar to those of Supreme Court judges.
In short, the powers of ECI are vast as it has an important role in executing democracy and elections in the country. However, its members can be removed or impeached by parliament.
Responsibilities of ECI
The role and responsibilities of ECI has been done on the basis of Article 324, Representation of the People Act — 1950 and 1951, Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act 1952, Government of Union Territories Act 1965, Delhi Administration Act 1966, and subsequent regulations that fall under these acts.
In other words, the power of ECI is based on correct planning and execution of various elections, bye-elections in the country. Responsibilities include:
Preparing and managing electoral rolls in all the constituencies
- Conduct elections, bye-elections for Lok Sabha, State Assemblies, legislative councils, and offices of the President and Vice- President
- Address complaints against elections
- Appoint tribunals if necessary to address complaints on elections
- Review returns filed by candidates in elections against the expenses made by them
- Address applications filed by candidates for elections. Remove or disqualify candidates if necessary.
- Pass an order on elections in case no rules or laws have been made.
- Delimit constituencies as necessary.
- Recognize political parties or derecognize them.
- Allot symbols to political parties and independent candidates. They also manage disputes related to the symbols.
- Cancel polls in case of voting irregularities, violence, and rigging.
- Advise President on elections in a state that is under President’s rule.
- Advise President on disqualification of a candidate.
…And, a quasi-judiciary body it helps to manage disputes related to elections.
Powers and Independence
Often ruling political parties make moves just before elections that can influence voters. ECI has the right to disqualify the candidate or penalize the party. Often, malpractices of voter’s list and bogus voting can cause problems. The ECI helps to manage this problem. From making registration of the voters ID card online and allowing faster and transparent movement of the EPIC scheme, the role of ECI is quite essential.
Comment Policy [Please read this before posting your comments]: Only use your real name. Your words are your own, so be nice and helpful if you can. Please, do not share any personal information in your comments. For further details, please read our Comments Policy available over here.