The Election Commission of India is an autonomous, quasi-judicial and a constitutional body. It was established to conduct fair and free elections to representative institutions. It was set up on 25 January, 1950, under Article 324 of the constitution. It is one of the pillars of our political semester.
Earlier it was a one-person institution called as chief Election Commission. Then it was made a three-member commission in 1989. In 1991, Parliament passed a law, according to which the President may decide the number of additional members beside the Chief Election Commissioner. At Present there are two additional members.
APPOINTMENT, TENURE AND IMPEACHMENT:
- The President of India appoints the Chief Election Commissioner and other Commissioners.
- All of them enjoy a term of six years or up to the age of 65 for the Chief Election Commissioner and 62 years for other members, whichever is earlier.
- The status of Election Commissioner is equivalent to that of a judge of the Supreme Court.
- The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed on grounds as those of a judge of the Supreme Court. While other members can be removed on the recommendation of the Chief Commissioner.
- Conduct of elections to Parliament.
- Conduct of elections to the state legislature including the union territories.
- Conduct of elections to the offices of the President and Vice-President. It also does the work connected with the following functions like:
- The preparation of electoral rolls
- Fixing dates of election
- Supervising the elections
- Arranging for the counting of votes and declaring the results
- Advising the President in regard to disputes like whether a member of Parliament or a State legislature has become subject to any disqualification or not.
- Demarcation of the Constituencies
- Recognition of political parties and allotment of election symbols
- Scrutiny of election expenses of candidates.
- During the elections, the entire central and state government machinery including para-military forces and the police is deemed to be in deputation to ensure successful completion of the electoral process.
- The Election Commission is an independent and autonomous as it is free from any kind of executive interference.
- It is a quasi-judicial in matters related to electoral disputes.
- Its opinions and recommendations are usually binding on the governments.
- The Commission gives its annual report to the president.