The election commission of India is not concerned with the elections to panchayats and municipalities.
For this, the Constitution of India provides for a separate State Election Commission.
The Election Commission of India was establishedon25th Jan1950.
Sukumar Sen became the first Chief Election Commissioner of India, on 21 March 1950.
Composition of Election Commission of India
The Election Commission of India shall consist of the chiefelectioncommissioner and a such number of otherelectioncommissioners, as the presidentmay from time to timefix.
Presidentappoints the chief election commissioner and other election commissioners
When any other election commissioner is so appointed, the chief election commissioner shall act as the chairman of the election commission.
President may appoint regionalcommissioners after consultation with the election commission of India.
Conditions of service and tenure of office shall be determined by the president
Till 1989, the election commission of India functioned as a single member body
By the 61stConstitutionalAmendment Act of 1988 voting age became 18 years from 21 years.
So, President appointed 2 more election commissioners to cope with the increased work of the election commission
Thereafter, the Election Commission functioned as a multimember body consisting of 3 election commissioners.
However, the two posts of election commissioners were abolished in January 1990 and the Election Commission was reverted to the earlier position.
Again in October 1993, the president appointed two more election commissioners.
Since then and till today, the Election Commission has been functioning as a multi-member body consisting of 3 election commissioners.
The chief election commissioner and 2 other election commissioners have equalpowers
They receive equalsalary, allowances, and other perquisites, which are similar to thoseof a judge of the Supreme Court.
In case of a difference of opinion amongst the Chief election commissioner and/or two other election commissioners, the matter is decided by the Commission by the majority.
Holdoffice for a term of 6 years or until they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier
The chief election commissioner is provided with the security of tenure.
He cannot be removed from his office except in the samemanner and on the same grounds as a judge of the Supreme Court
In other words, he can be removedby the president on the basis of a resolution passed to that effect by both the Houses of Parliamentwith the specialmajority, either on the ground of proven misbehaviororincapacity.
So, he does not hold his office till the pleasure of the president
The service conditions of the chief election commissioner cannot be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.
Any otherelectioncommissioner or a regionalcommissionercannotberemoved from office except on the recommendation of the chiefelectioncommissioner.
Limitations in Safeguard
The Constitution has not prescribed the qualifications of the members of the Election Commission.
Constitution has not specified the term of the members of the Election Commission.
The Constitution has notdebarred the retiring election commissioners from any further appointment by the government.
The budget of the ElectionCommissiondoes notcharge from the ConsolidatedFund of India.
Its voted through Parliament which may lead to a conflict of interests.
Powers & Functions
Powers and Functions of the Election commission of India can be divided in 3 types
To determine the territorial areas of the electoral constituencies throughout the country on the basis of the DelimitationCommissionAct of Parliament.
Orders issued by the Delimitation Commission cannot be questionedin a court of law
To grant recognition to political parties and allotelectionsymbols to them.
Grant them the status of national or state parties
Act as a court for settling disputes related to granting of recognition to political parties and allotment of election symbols to them.
Advise the president on matters relating to the disqualifications of the members of Parliament.
advise the governor on matters relating to the disqualifications of the members of state legislature
Advise the president whether elections can be held in a state under the president’s rule in order to extend the period of emergency after one year.
Prepare and periodically revise electoral rolls and to register all eligible voters.
Notify the dates and schedules of elections and to scrutinise nomination papers.
Prepare a roster for publicity of the policies of the political parties on radio and TV and other media in times of elections.
Promote awareness about the electoral process and electoral governance amongst voters, political parties, candidates, and people
Strengthen the confidence and trust of people in the electoralsystem of this country
Adopttechnology for improvement in all areas of electoral process
Election Commission is assisted by deputyelectioncommissioners
At the statelevel, the Election Commission is assisted by the chiefelectoralofficer
A chief electoral officer is appointed by the chief election commissioner in consultation with the state government
At the districtlevel, the collector acts as the district returning officer
He appoints a returningofficer for every constituency and presidingofficer for every polling booth