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GK of the day: Election Commission Constitutional Power

GK of the day: Election Commission Constitutional Power

The Election Commission of India (ECI) is a constitutional body responsible for administering elections in India according to the rules and regulations mentioned in the Constitution of India. The ECI ensures smooth and successful operation of the democracy.

It was established on January 25, 1950. The major aim of election commission of India is to define and control the process for elections conducted at various levels. The most critical challenge before the Election Commission of India is to implement norms and the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) to ensure free and fair elections in the country.

Structure of ECI

Presently, it consists of a Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners. The concept of multi-member Commission has been in operation since 1993, with decision-making power by majority vote.

The President has the power to select Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners. They have 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 accusation by Parliament.

Constitutional Provisions

  • Art. 324: It broadly speaks of the functions of EC and its composition. EC has superintendence, direction, and control of the entire process for conduct of elections to Parliament and Legislature (state legislative assembly & state legislative council) of every State and to the offices of President and Vice-President of India.
  • Art. 325: There shall be one general electoral roll for every territorial constituency for election to either Houses of Parliament and State legislature. It establishes equality among citizens by affirming that no person shall be ineligible for inclusion in the electoral roll on the grounds of religion, race, caste or sex.
  • Art. 326: It lays down adult suffrage as the basis of elections to the Lok Sabha and to the Legislative Assemblies of States.
  • Art. 327: It confers on Parliament the power to make provisions with respect to elections to federal and State Legislatures.
  • Art. 328: It confers on State Legislature the power to make laws with respect to elections to such legislature.
  • Art. 329: It bars interference by courts in electoral matters. Notwithstanding anything said in the constitution i.e. validity of any law relating to the delimitation of constituencies or the allotment of seats to such constituencies shall not be called in question in any court.

Judicial power

Under the Constitution, the Commission also has advisory jurisdiction in the matter of post-election ineligibility of sitting members of Parliament and State Legislatures.

The Commission has the power to prohibit a candidate who has failed to lodge an account of his election expenses within the time and in the manner set by law.

The Commission has also the power to remove or reduce the period of such disqualification as also other disqualification under the law.

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