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Part XV of the Constitution (Art.324-329) contains


provisions related to elections are two RPAs:

Representation of the People Act, 1950, which mainly


deals with the preparation and revision of electoral rolls
and

Representation of the People Act, 1951 which deals, in


detail, with all aspects of conduct of elections and post
election disputes.

Other laws that confer powers on the EC are Presidential


and Vice-Presidential Elections Acts, 1952, Government
of Union Territories Act, 1963, Government of the
National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 and the
Rules and powers under them.

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Art. 324 broadly speaks of the functions of the Election


Commission and its composition. It confers the power of
superintendence, direction and control of elections in the
Election Commission. It includes the preparation of the
electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to
Parliament and State Legislature; and elections to the
offices of President and Vice-President of India.
The Election Commission shall consist of the Chief
Election Commissioner and such number of other
Election Commissioners, as the President may from time
to time fix. President appoints the Chief Election
Commissioner and other Election Commissioners Subject
to any law made by Parliament.

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The manner of removal of the CEC and the ground for


removal are the same as the Supreme Court judgeparliamentary vote followed by the Presidential decision.
Election Commissioner or a Regional Commissioner shall
not be removed from office except on the
recommendation of the Chief Election Commissioner.

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Art: 325 says that there shall be one general electoral roll
for every territorial constituency for election to either
House of Parliament and State Legislature.

Art. 326 lays down adult suffrage as the basis for


elections to the house of the People and to the Legislative
Assemblies of States.

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Should be a citizen of India


Should be not less than eighteen years of age.
is not disqualified under this Constitution or any law

made by the appropriate Legislature on the grounds of


1. non-residence
2. unsoundness of mind

3. crime or
4. corrupt or illegal practice.
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Art. 327 confers on Parliament the power to make


provision with respect to elections to federal and state
Legislatures, subject to the provisions of the
Constitution, on all matters relating to elections to
Parliament or Legislature of a State including the
preparation o electoral rolls, the delimitation of
constituencies etc.

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Article 324(2) empowers the President of India to fix from


time to time the number of Election Commissioners other
than the Chief Election Commissioner.
The Chief Election Commissioner or an Election
Commissioner holds office for a term of six years from
the date on which he assumes his office or till he attains
the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

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Under Article 324(1) of the Constitution of India, the


Election Commission of India, is vested with the power of
superintendence, direction and control of conducting the
elections to the offices of the President and VicePresident of India.

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The Election Commission of India nominates or


designates an Officer of the Government of the
State/Union Territory as the Chief Electoral Officer in
consultation with that State Government/Union Territory
Administration the Chief Electoral Officer of a State /
Union Territory is authorised to supervise the election
work in the State/Union Territory subject to the overall
superintendence direction and control of the Election
Commission.

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Under Art.324, EC is made responsible for the free and

fair elections in the country for elections to Parliament,


State Legislature, President and Vice President of India.

Under Art.324, EC has the duty to prepare and revise


the electoral rolls

Political parties have to be registered with the Election


Commission.

EC enforces the Model Code of Electoral Conduct that is


mutually agreed upon by the political parties

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Defines the national political party and State political

party and accords recognition. EC declares other parties


as registered-unrecognised parties.

in case of a dispute as to which party is to be given a


particular symbol, it is the Election Commission that
decides

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Under the Constitution, the Commission


advisory jurisdiction in the matter of

also

has

Most

election Disqualification of sitting members of


Parliament and State legislatures. For example, for
holding office of profit.

cases

of persons found guilty of corrupt practices at


elections which are dealt with by Supreme Court and
High Courts are also referred to the Commission for its
opinion on the question as to whether such person
shall be disqualification and, if so, for what period.

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The Election Commission of India is the authority to


register political parties under Sec.29A of the
Registration of People Act. All political parties are
registered with the Election Commission under the law.

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Independence of Election Commission and its insulation


from executive interference is guaranteed by the
following provisions

The

term of office of the Chief Election Commissioner


and other Election Commissioners is six years from the
date he assumes office or till the day he attains the age
of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

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Many committees have studied and reported on electoral


reforms with important recommendations.
The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Amendments to
Election Law headed by Shri Jagannath Rao (1971), the
Tarkunde committee set up by Lok Nayak Jai Prakash
Narayan (1974), Dinesh Goswami committee (1990), V R
Krishna Iyer committee (1994), Indrajit Gupta committee
(1998) are some such committees.
The 15th Law Commission recommended amendments
to Constitution and the Representation of People Act,
1951 in its 170th report (1999).

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Some more electoral reforms that are recommended and


are under consideration are:

Non-serious candidates to be discouraged.


Forfeiture of security deposit for failure to
than l/4th of the votes polled.

secure less

Statutory

backing for important provisions of model


code of conduct. The recommendation is not acted
upon as statutory backing will open it for judicial review
which is time consuming and so is not advisable during
elections

Bye-elections

should be held within a period of six


months of the occurrence of the vacancy.

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The six-member Commission headed by the former Chief


Minister of Karnataka, Veerappa Moily made the following
suggestions in its report titled. Ethics in Governance
(2007).

partial state funding of elections should be available


tightening of anti-defection law. Power

of
disqualification of MPs and MLAs on grounds of
defection should be taken away from the Presiding
Officers and be vested with President and Governors on
the advice of the Election Commission. Such an
amendment to the law is said to be necessary in the
light of the long delays seen in some recent cases.

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The model code of conduct was brought into force in


1967 after the political parties, in discussion with the EC,
unanimously agreed to the contents.
The objective of the code is to ensure that political
parties do not misuse official resources when they are in
power. The code seeks to establish a level playing field
among the parties. The code comes into effect
immediately after the announcement of the elections by
the EC and will cease with the declaration of the result.
The code prescribes broad guidelines about the conduct
of the parties, particularly for the ruling parties at the
Centre and the States

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If a recognized political party violates the model code, EC


has the power to suspend or withdraw recognition of the
party

The Code is not given a statutory status as there is a


voluntary desire on the part of the parties to obey the
same.

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State funding of elections has been under consideration


in India for more than three decades.
The following committees recommended state funding of
elections

Joint Parliamentary Committee (1971 - 1972)


Tarakunde committee set up by Jaiprakash
(1974)

Dinesh Goswami committee (1990).


multi-party parliamentary committee

Narayan

under the
chairmanship of Indrajit Gupta (1998) was set up to
look into the question of state funding of elections.

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Criminalization of politics refers to persons with criminal


record entering legislature at national, state and local
levels through the electoral process by money and
muscle power. When Jaw breakers become law makers
the adverse consequences are in the form of corruption;
demoralization of bureaucracy; loss of faith in the
democratic system by the common man; weakening of
rule of law and so on.

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FPTP system

FPTP system is one where there are two or more


candidates contesting in a single seat territorial
constituency. The winner is one who gets more votes
than the nearest rival- called plurality of votes. It is in
contrast to the term majority of votes which is one vote
more than 50% of the total valid votes polled.

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FPTP system, is adopted for the following reasons:

simple to administer
country being huge and the electorate being largely not
very literate, it is the most convenient and suitable
system

relatively inexpensive

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The word proxy means to act on behalf of another. It is


allowed in India for defence personnel since 2001.
The need for proxy voting arises from the fact that the
campaigning period is reduced to 14 days. Ballot papers
can be printed only after withdrawal of the nominations
before being dispatched to the far off locations. For
example, a soldier from Kerala posted to Tripura has to
be sent the ballot postally and must mail it to the
returning officer in Kerala within less than a fortnight
which very often is found impossible.

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The Election Commission (EC) banned dissemination of


results of opinion polls during 48 hours before the poll
and put a blanket ban on exit polls till the last phase is
over in the event of multi-phase elections.
The government had in 2008 October amended the
Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951 to curb
publication of exit polls during elections till the
conclusion of the final phase of voting so that it does not
influence the voters.

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