Election Commission of India

Election Commission of India
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The official logo Election Commission
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
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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, state legislative Councils, and the offices of the President and Vice President of 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

The current commission was established in 1950 when it had a Chief Election Commissioner appointed. Membership increased on 16 October 1989 to three with the increase of two Commissioners were appointed to the commission. That commission ceased on 1 January 1990 when The Election Commissioner Amendment Act, 1989 superseded the earlier the commission; it continues in operation.. Decisions by the commission are by at least 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 secretariat is based in New Delhi[2] which includes the Election Commissioners, Deputy Election Commissioners (usually IAS officers) Directors General, Principal Secretaries, Secretaries and Under Secretaries.[2][7]

Administration is generally by state with 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 office as can be a judge of the Supreme Court of India: a two-thirds majority resolution passed by the Parliament of India (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) outlining the grounds of misbehavior or incapacity. Other Election Commissioners can be removed by the President of India on the advice of the Chief Election Commissioner. A Chief Election Commissioner has yet to be impeached. 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, a potential conflict of interest considering his partisan political party behavior.[8] The President rejected advisory recommendation.[9] Subsequently, after Gopalswami's retirement the next month, Chawla became the chief election commissioner and supervised the 2009 Lok Sabha Elections.[10]

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