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Election Commission


Election Commission
Election Commission

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) is a constitutional authority tasked with the responsibility of conducting free and fair elections at the national and state levels in India. Established under Article 324 of the Constitution, the ECI plays a crucial role in upholding the democratic process in the country.


Article 324 vests the ECI with plenary powers to oversee the entire electoral process. It empowers the Commission to conduct elections, issue necessary directions, and ensure the fairness of the electoral process. The ECI operates independently and is not subject to the control of the government or any political party.

 
 

Constitutional Mandate


Article 324 vests the ECI with extensive powers and responsibilities to ensure the conduct of free and fair elections. This includes:


  1. Conduct of Elections: The ECI is responsible for conducting elections for the Lok Sabha, state legislative assemblies, and other local bodies. It sets the election schedule, oversees candidate nominations, supervises polling stations, and ensures the integrity of the counting process.

  2. Recognition of Political Parties: The ECI has the authority to recognize political parties and allocate symbols to them. This recognition is based on certain criteria, including the party's performance in elections and its organisational structure.

  3. Dispute Resolution: The Commission adjudicates disputes arising among political parties and within party factions. It ensures that internal conflicts do not disrupt the electoral process.

  4. Superintendence, Control, and Direction: The ECI exercises superintendence, control, and direction over the conduct of elections to prevent malpractices and ensure fairness. It issues guidelines and instructions to electoral officials and political parties to maintain the integrity of the electoral process.

  5. Monitoring Election Expenditure: The ECI monitors the expenditure incurred by political parties and candidates during elections. It imposes limits on campaign spending to prevent undue influence and corruption.

  6. Requisition of Staff: The ECI has the power to requisition government employees and resources for election-related duties. It ensures the availability of sufficient manpower and infrastructure for the smooth conduct of elections.

  7. Advisory Role: The ECI provides advice to the President and Governors on matters related to the disqualification of members of Parliament and state legislatures. It examines complaints of electoral malpractices and recommends appropriate action.



Guardian of Democracy


The ECI serves as the guardian of democracy in India. It upholds the principles of free and fair elections, ensuring that every eligible citizen has the opportunity to participate in the electoral process. The Commission's impartiality and integrity are essential for maintaining public trust in the democratic system.


Landmark Cases


Mohinder Singh Gill v. Chief Election Commissioner, New Delhi (1978): In this case, the Supreme Court emphasised the pivotal role of the Election Commission in ensuring free and fair elections. It upheld the Commission's authority to oversee the entire electoral process and veto any illegal actions.


Union of India v. Association for Democratic Reforms (2002): This case underscored the importance of transparency in elections. The Supreme Court upheld the Election Commission's power to require political parties to submit details of their expenditure, promoting accountability and fairness.


Ashok Shankarrao Chavan v. Madhavrao Kinhalkar (2014): In this case, the Supreme Court recognized the Election Commission as the guardian of democracy. It emphasised the Commission's role in maintaining the purity of elections and ensuring the integrity of the democratic process.

 
 


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