Establishment of Election Commission of India - [January 25, 1950] This Day in History

25 January 1950

The Election Commission of India was established

What happened?

The Election Commission of India (EC) was established on 25 January 1950 in accordance with constitutional provisions (Article 324). From 2011, this day is observed as ‘National Voters’ Day’.

Election Commission of India

  • The EC is a constitutional body.
  • The Constitution gives it the power and authority to conduct, control and supervise the entire election process in the country including elections to the Parliament, the Legislatures of every state, and to the offices of the President and Vice-President.
  • Originally, there was only one Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) in the Commission. In 1989, two additional commissioners were appointed albeit for a short tenure. Then, from 1993 onwards, there have been two additional election commissioners apart from the CEC.
  • The CEC and the other commissioners have tenures of 6 years or until the age of 65 whichever is earlier. They are appointed by the President and are generally retired IAS officers.
  • They receive the same salary and perks as that of the judges of the Supreme Court. They can be impeached only by the Parliament by a two-thirds majority in case of proven incapacity or misbehavior.
  • The Commission’s Secretariat is at New Delhi and it employs about 300 officials.
  • The EC is an autonomous body like the UPSC and is free of executive interference.
  • The EC alone decides the election schedules, location of polling booths, assigns voters to polling stations and makes all arrangements thereof.
  • All political parties must be registered with the EC under the law. The commission also ensures that democracy is maintained within parties.
  • The EC issues a Model Code of Conduct for political parties and candidates and revises the code from time to time. It consults political parties on the compliance of the code.
  • The Commission also has quasi-judicial functions. It gives recommendations to the courts in case of disputes regarding corrupt practices by candidates.
  • The EC also has the power to disqualify candidates if they fail to provide their election expenses within the prescribed time.
  • Voter education is also an integral part of the EC’s functions.
  • The EC has brought about many far-reaching changes to the way elections are held in India through the introduction of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and the photo identity cards.
  • The current CEC is Sunil Arora. One of the most noted CECs, and the person who gave this role visibility is T N Seshan.
Also on this day

1824: Birth of poet and playwright Michael Madhusudan Dutt. 1924: Death of social worker and women’s rights activist Ramabai Ranade.

See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.

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