Election Commission of India

Election Commission of India
Election Commission of India Logo.png
The official logo Election Commission of India
Commission overview
Formed25 January 1950 (Later celebrated as National Voters Day)
Jurisdiction India
HeadquartersNirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road, New Delhi[1]
28°37′26″N 77°12′41″E / 28°37′26″N 77°12′41″E / 28.623902; 77.21140000000003
Emblem of India.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
India

The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering 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.[2][3] The Election Commission operates under the authority of Constitution per Article 324,[4] and subsequently enacted Representation of the People Act.[5] The commission has the powers under the Constitution, to act in an appropriate manner when the enacted laws make insufficient provisions to deal with a given situation in the conduct of an election. Being a constitutional authority, Election Commission is amongst the few institutions which function with both autonomy and freedom, along with the country’s higher judiciary, the Union Public Service Commission and the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

Structure

Originally in 1950, the commission had only a Chief Election Commissioner. Two additional Commissioners were appointed to the commission for the first time on 16 October 1989 but they had a very short tenure, ending on 1 January 1990. The Election Commissioner Amendment Act, 1989 made the commission a multi-member body. The concept of a 3-member Commission has been in operation since then, with the decisions being made by a majority vote.[2] The Chief Election Commissioner and the two Election Commissioners who are usually retired IAS officers draw salaries and allowances as per with those of the Judges of the Supreme Court of India as per the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Conditions of Service) Rules, 1992.[6]

The commission is served by its secretariat located in New Delhi.[2] The Election Commissioners are assisted by Deputy Election Commissioners, who are generally IAS officers. They are further assisted by Directors General, Principal Secretaries, and Secretaries and Under Secretaries.[2][7]

At the state level, Election Commission is assisted by the Chief Electoral Officer of the State, who is an IAS officer of Principal Secretary rank. At the district and constituency levels, the District Magistrates (in their capacity as District Election Officers), Electoral Registration Officers and Returning Officers perform election work.[2][7]

Removal from office

The Chief Election Commissioner of India can be removed from his office similar to the removal of a judge of the Supreme Court of India which requires a resolution passed by the Parliament with a two-thirds majority in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on the grounds of proved misbehavior or incapacity. Other Election Commissioners can be removed by the President of India on the recommendation of the Chief Election Commissioner. A Chief Election Commissioner has never been impeached in India. In 2009, just before the 2009 Lok Sabha Elections, Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami sent a recommendation to President Prathibha Patil to remove Election Commissioner Navin Chawla, who was soon to take office as the chief election commissioner and to subsequently supervise the Lok Sabha Election, citing his partisan behavior in favor of one political party.[8] The President opined that such a recommendation is not binding on the president, and hence rejected it.[9] Subsequently, after Gopalswami's retirement the next month, Chawla became the chief election commissioner and supervised the 2009 Lok Sabha Elections.[10]

Other Languages