Election Commission

Election Commission of India

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The Election Commission of India is a constitutional body whose responsibility is the administration of elections for various offices in India. Thus elections for positions in the state legislative bodies, the Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha, the presidency and the vice presidency are all administered by the Election Commission of India.

The Election Commission of India derives its authority from the constitution. It also derives its authority from a piece of legislation enacted that is referred to as the Representation of the People Act. In the event that the existing laws and legislation do not sufficiently address certain situations that may arise in the course of the electoral process, the Supreme Court of India has in the past ruled that the Election Commission of India has the power to act as it deems fit.

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Appointment of the Election Commissioner

The Election Commissioner of India is appointed by the president of India. The other commissioners are also appointed by the president. 

Electoral governing policies and initiatives of the Election Commission of India

In keeping with its moral responsibility of acting as the midwife of free and fair polls the Election Commission of India always makes a point of issuing to the various factors including candidates and political parties a code that’s supposed to govern their conduct in every election. The first time this was done was in 1971 and since then the code of conduct has undergone various revisions.

To regulate the spending and source of funds used by candidates and political parties during elections the Election Commission of India has come up with various initiatives. One of the policy initiatives is fixing a ceiling on the level of campaign spending by any given candidate. The financial spending limits of a campaign are not fixed in stone though and they keep getting revised every now and then. To achieve this the commission appoints observers on the ground who keep tabs on the election spending.

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Additionally the electoral candidates themselves who are vying for various positions at various levels are also required to provide information on their campaign spending within a month following the poll results declaration. Also when the various electoral candidates are submitting their nomination papers they are required to present an affidavit declaring their assets.

To cut down on poll campaign spending the Election Commission of India reduced the campaign period for Assembly and Lok Sabha elections from the previous three weeks down to two weeks.

Adoption of technology in elections

To enhance efficiency and reduce electoral malpractices the Election Commission of India introduced Electronic Voting Machines – EVM. Electoral Photo Identity Cards or EPICs were also introduced with the purpose of preventing voter fraud.

State Election Commission

The Constitution of India’s Article 243K states that the control, direction and superintendence of local government authority elections lies with the State Election Commission. The powers of the State Election Commission include the following:

  • Chairing the Delimitation Commission(the body in charge of the local government constituency delimitation exercise).
  • Administering and conducting election at the local government level.
  • Disciplinary powers over the election staff as well as the candidates vying in elections conducted by SEC.

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