ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     15th March 2024        

Context: A committee headed by Prime Minister of India has picked two retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers – Sukhbir Singh Sandhu and Gyanesh Kumar – as election commissioners (ECs).

Election Commission of India

  • Status: Constitutional Body established on 25th January 1950 . 
  • Aim: To administer elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, and State Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country.
  • Composition: The election commission shall consist of the Chief Election Commissioner and a such number of other election commissioners, if any, as the president may from time to time fix.
  • Current Process of Appointment:

oArticle 324(2): The appointment of Election Commissioners are done as per the CEC and Other ECs (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Act, 2023.

oCurrent Method: It is done by the President on recommendations of a committee comprising Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Leader of Opposition , and a Union minister.

  • Tenure: Fixed tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • Removal: They can resign anytime or can also be removed before the expiry of their term. 

oThe CEC can be removed from office only through a process of removal similar to that of a SC judge by Parliament.

oOther member of the commission can be removed only on the recommendation of the CEC.

  • Powers and functions of the Election Commission of India
  • Administrative:

oPowers for determining the territorial areas of the electoral constituencies.

oPreparing electoral rolls.

oNotifying the dates and schedules of elections.

oGranting recognition to political parties, allotting election symbols to parties, determine the code of conduct in times of elections etc. 

  • Advisory:

oAdvise the President and Governor on matters relating to the disqualifications of the members of Parliament and state legislature respectively.

o To advise the president whether elections can be held in a state under president’s rule in order to extend the period of emergency after one year.