Election Commission of India
The Election Commission conducts elections according to the prevalent laws in India. The Election Commission is entrusted with the task of ensuring free and fair elections. The main functions of the Election Commission of India are briefly discussed below:
Conduct and Supervision of Elections: The Election Commission conducts, directs, controls and supervises all elections to:
- Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha of Parliament;
- State Legislative Assemblies and the Legislative Councils where it exists;
- The office of the President and Vice-President and
- All by-elections to Parliament and State Legislature.
Electoral Rolls: The Commission sees to it that correct electoral rolls are prepared. The names of all eligible voters irrespective of their religion, race, caste, sex or any of them, who are otherwise not disqualified under any law must be registered as voters. The Commission shall also try to photo-identity cards to the voters.
Staff Requisition: The Election Commission makes every effort for the smooth conduct of elections. The Commission also requests the President or the Governor, as the case may be, to make available such staff and army as may be necessary for the smooth conduct of the elections.
Conduct of the Polls: Elections are hotly contested affairs, for different political parties try all possible means to have their candidates elected. The Election Commission has thus to be very vigilant in order to guard against malpractices including false voting, rigging, booth jams, managing the voting fraudulently etc. Peaceful and lawful conduct of polls depends very much on the joint endeavor of the State Government and the Election Commission.
Appointment of observers: The Commission may appoint such number of poll observers which it considers necessary, for ensuring free and fair elections.
Election Schedule: The election schedule is announced by the Election Commission through Press Conference. The announcement is followed by the publication of “The model code of conduct”. On publication of notification, the candidates can file their nominations.
Quasi Judicial Functions: The Commission settles the disputes between the splinter groups of the recognized parties as its quasi-judicial jurisdiction. It ensures that Model Code of Conduct is followed by the political parties. It also sends its opinion to the higher courts in relation to the cases of the persons found guilty of corrupt practices.
Holding of by-elections: Whenever there is a mid-term vacancy in Parliament or State Legislature the Election Commission holds by-elections to fill up vacancies.
Cancellation of Polls: The Election Commission is responsible for holding elections. But if the Commission, on the basis of information and findings, comes to the decision that the elections have been rigged at any polling booth, it has the power to cancel the elections of those booths and can order fresh re-poll in those booths. Even the Commission can cancel the election result of a constituency and order fresh pool.
Recognition of Political Parties and Allotment of Symbols: It is one of the important functions of the Election Commission to recognize political parties both at the National and Regional levels and allot appropriate symbols to them.
Disqualifying the Candidates: The Election Commission has the power to disqualify a candidate if he or she does not file election returns within a prescribed period. The Commission also advises the President about the disqualification of MPs and MLAs, if they accept paid government assignments.
Code of Conduct: The Commission formulates the code of conduct to be observed by the political parties and candidates in election period and maintains vigilance to ensure that those are strictly followed.
Functions related to the Political Parties: The Commission also observes the conduct of registered Political parties.
Media: The Commission also conducts briefings for the mass media during the election period. Media persons are allowed to get facilities to know the necessary information about the poll and counting.