CHIEF ELECTION COMMISSIONER
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- The Supreme court of India stated that the Chief Election Commissioner must be a person “with character” who “does not allow himself to be bulldozed”, the Supreme Court has introduced the idea of including the Chief Justice of India in the appointment committee to ensure “neutrality”.
Election Commission of India
- It is a permanent constitutional body under Article 324 of the Indian constitution.
- The Election Commission of India supervises the conduct of elections to the Parliament and Legislature of every State and elections to the offices of the President and Vice-President of India.
- It consists of the Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.
- Originally, there was only Chief Election Commissioner, there were no Election Commissioners.
Appointment of Election Commissioner
- The President appoints Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.
- Tenure of 6 years, or up to 65 years of age, whichever is earlier.
- The status, salary and perks of election commissioners are equivalent to Judges of the Supreme Court of India.
- The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only through impeachment by Parliament.
- The President can remove other members in consultation with the Chief Election Commissioner.
- The President may appoint Regional Election Commissioners in consultation with the CEC before elections to the Parliament or Assemblies.
- The Chief Election Commissioner cannot hold any office of profit after retirement.
- The Chief Election Commissioner cannot be reappointed to the post.
Powers of the Election Commission
- The EC enjoys complete autonomy and is insulated from any interference from the Executive.
- It also functions as a quasi-judicial body regarding matters related to elections and electoral disputes. Its recommendations are binding on the President of India.
- However, its decisions are subject to judicial review by High Courts and the Supreme Court acting on electoral petitions.
- During the election process, the entire Central and state government machinery (including paramilitary and police forces) is deemed to be on deputation to the Commission.
- The Commission takes effective control of government personnel and movable and immovable property for the successful conduct of elections.
- Once the Polls are Completed and the result declared, Commission cannot review any result on its own, Can only be reviewed through the process of an election Petition, which Can be filed before the High Court, in respect of elections to the Parliament and State Legislatures. In respect of elections for the offices of President and Vice President, Such Petitions Can only be filed before Supreme Court.
- It provides experts and observers for elections to other Countries in Cooperation with United Nations and Commonwealth Secretariat.
Functions of the Election Commission
- Preparation of the Electoral Rolls.
- Revision of Electoral Rolls.
- Superintendence, direction and Control of all matters related to the Elections.
- Granting of Recognition of Political Parties.
- Allotment of Symbols.
- Ensuring fair and free elections.
- Advises the President or Governor regarding all electoral matters including questions relating to disqualifications of members.
- Settles disputes and Petitions referred to it by President or Governor.
- Decides disputes relating to election Symbol in the event of a Split in the Political Party.
- Has the Power to impose a Ceiling on the election expenses of the Candidate.
- The task of collecting affidavits from the Candidates regarding their assets.
- Power and duty to disqualify a Candidate if He/She fails to submit election returns within the Prescribed Period.
- It issues a notification after the election is over, that the house is duly constituted.