Q. 34.3( 3 Votes )
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(INFORMATION FROM THE INTERNET)
The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering Union and State election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country.
A Constitutional Body
Election Commission of India is a permanent Constitutional Body. The Election Commission was established in accordance with the Constitution on 25th January 1950. The Commission celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 2001.
Originally the commission had only a Chief Election Commissioner. It currently consists of Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.
For the first time, two additional Commissioners were appointed on 16th October 1989 but they had a very short tenure till 1st January 1990. Later, on 1st October 1993 two additional Election Commissioners were appointed. The concept of multi-member Commission has been in operation since then, with decision making power by majority vote.
Appointment & Tenure of Commissioners
The President appoints Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners. They have a tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. They enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Judges of the Supreme Court of India. The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only through impeachment by Parliament.
Transaction of Business
The Commission transacts its business by holding regular meetings and also by circulation of papers. All Election Commissioners have equal say in the decision making of the Commission. The Commission, from time to time, delegates some of its executive functions to its officers in its Secretariat.
The Commission has a separate Secretariat at New Delhi, consisting of about 300 officials, in a hierarchical set up.
Budget & Expenditure
The Secretariat of the Commission has an independent budget, which is finalized directly in consultation between the Commission and the Finance Ministry of the Union Government. The latter generally accepts the recommendations of the Commission for its budgets. The major expenditure on the actual conduct of elections is, however, reflected in the budgets of the concerned constituent units of the Union - States and Union Territories.
Political Parties & the Commission
Political parties are registered with the Election Commission under the law. The Commission ensures inner-party democracy in their functioning by insisting upon them to hold their organizational elections at periodic intervals.
Advisory Jurisdiction & Quasi-Judicial Functions
Under the Constitution, the Commission also has advisory jurisdiction in the matter of post-election disqualification of sitting members of Parliament and State Legislatures
The decisions of the Commission can be challenged in the High Court and the Supreme Court of India by appropriate petitions. By long-standing convention and several judicial pronouncements, once the actual process of elections has started, the judiciary does not intervene in the actual conduct of the polls.
The Commission has a comprehensive policy for the media. It holds regular briefings for the mass media-print and electronic, on a regular basis, at close intervals during the election period and on specific occasions as necessary on other occasions.
Voters’ Participation in the democratic and electoral processes is integral to the successful running of any democracy and the very basis of wholesome democratic elections. Recognizing this, Election Commission of India, in 2009, formally adopted Voter Education and Electoral participation as an integral part of its election management.
India is a founding member of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), Stockholm, Sweden. In the recent past, the Commission has expanded international contacts by way of sharing of experience and expertise in the areas of Electoral Management and Administration, Electoral Laws, and Reforms.
SYSTEM OF ELECTION
Elections to the Lok Sabha and each Vidhan Sabha are carried out using a first-past-the-post electoral system. For each constituency, the electors can cast their vote for a single candidate (of their choice), the winner being the candidate who gets the most votes.
The Parliament of the Union consists of the President, the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (The Council of States).
PRESIDENT AND VICE-PRESIDENT
The President is elected by the elected members of the Vidhan Sabhas, Lok Sabha, and Rajya Sabha and serves for a period of 5 years. A formula, linked to the population of the state, determines the value of a vote for each elected member of Parliament- both of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha and is determined by a formula linked to the total value of votes of all the members of all the legislative assemblies.
INDEPENDENT ELECTION COMMISSION
The Election Commission of India is an independent Constitutional Authority since 25th January 1950. The Constitution provides for Chief Election Commissioner and one or more Election Commissioners to be appointed. The Commission consisted of Chief Election Commissioner till 1989, when for the first time two Election Commissioners were appointed. Currently, the Commission has a Chief Election Commissioner and two Commissioners. Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commissioners enjoy the status of a Judge of the Supreme Court of India.
WHO CAN VOTE?
The democratic system in India is based on the principle of universal adult suffrage; that any citizen over the age of 18 can vote in an election (before 1989 the age limit was 21). The right to vote is irrespective of caste, creed, religion or gender. Those who are deemed unsound of mind and people convicted of certain criminal offenses are not allowed to vote. There has been a general increase in the number of people voting in an Indian election. In 1996, 57.4% of the electorate voted. This increased to 66 % in the General Election held in 2014. Women voted in good numbers and almost in equal proportion as men.
THE ELECTORAL ROLL
The electoral roll of a constituency is a list of all those people in that constituency who are registered to vote in the elections. Only those people whose names are there in the electoral rolls are allowed to vote as ‘electors’. The electoral roll is normally revised every year to add the names of those who are not less than 18 on a qualifying date years as on the first day of January of that year, or have moved into the constituency, and to remove the names of those who have died or moved out of the constituency.
COMPUTERISATION OF ROLLS
The Election Commission has undertaken the computerisation of all electoral rolls throughout India, which has lead to improvements in the accuracy and speed with which the electoral roll can be updated.
ELECTORS' PHOTO IDENTITY CARDS
The Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC) is an identity document issued by the electoral registration officer. The EPIC contains details of the elector like name, father’s/mother’s/husband’s name, date of birth/ age on the qualifying date, sex, address, and most importantly, the photograph of the elector. EPIC is a permanent document for an elector.
THE DETAILS AVAILABLE IN THE WEBSITE INCLUDES:
1) Scheduling of election
2) Deployment of polling personnel
3) Who can stand for election
4) Nomination & campaign
5) The model code of conduct
6) Limit on poll expenses
7) Ballot papers & symbols
8) Electronic voting machine
9) DISTRICT ELECTION PLAN
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