The body of Election Commission is central to the idea of a successful democracy. Especially with respect to a country as large and as vast like India, both in terms of size and diversity, it becomes imperative to be well prepared with respect to all the important aspects of this institution for our UPSC/Civil Services preliminary as well as mains examination.
The Election Commission of India was established in 1950. It is a constitutional body and thus a permanent body too. The main aim to establish such an institution was to ensure the conduct of free and fair elections, an idea, a practice which is the most central idea for a democracy to function.
Since the Election Commission was entrusted with a responsibility so profound, it was important to entrust the commission with important powers too in order to fulfill the given responsibilities.
The powers of the Election Commission can be seen under 3 headings :
- Administrative Powers
- Advisory Powers
- Quasi-Judicial Powers
Let us discuss each of them one by one.
- Administrative Powers:
- The commission has the powers to function in accordance to the Delimitation Commission Act of the Parliament and decide the territorial boundaries of the electoral constituencies
- It has the powers to register or deregister a political party
- It enforces the ‘Model Code of Conduct’ and ensures the implementation of it
- Keeps a check on the election expenses of the political parties to ensure a level playing field for all the political parties irrespective of their size and thus the capacity to spend
- Advisory Powers:
- The Commission has the powers to advise the President of India regarding the disqualifications of the members of Parliament
- The Commission also advises the Governor with respect to the disqualifications of members of the State Legislatures
- It advises the High Court / Supreme Court in matters related to post election disputes.
Note : the post election disputes with respect to the elections of President and Vice President goes to the Supreme Court while the disputes with respect to the Parliament and the State Legislatures is referred to the High Courts.
- Quasi-Judicial Powers:
- The Election Commission has the powers to settle disputes with respect to the recognition granted to the political parties
- It is also authorised to act as a court for matters related to disputes arising out of allotment of election symbols to the political parties
It must be noted that the elections with respect to the election of Panchayats and Municipalities is carried out under the supervision of the State Election Commission.