IAS Gyan

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  • The Chief Election Commissioner has suggested 6 key electoral reforms to the Union Law Ministry.
    • Issue guidelines for the linking of Aadhaar with voter IDs.
    • The election commission has asked the Powers to deregister political parties.
    • Mandatory disclosure of all donations above Rs 2,000.
    • Empowers the commission to register associations and bodies as political parties.
    • Restrict the number of seats a candidate can contest from.
    • Ban on exit polls and opinion polls

Important Reforms Taken in Electoral System

  • The right to vote irrespective of Caste, Creed, Religion or Gender.
  • Lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 through the 61st Amendment Act of 1988.
  • Provision was made for voting by Certain Classes of Persons through Postal ballot.
  • A facility for voting through Proxy was provided to the Service voters belonging to the Armed forces.
  • Rajya Sabha elections were reformed by removing the domicile of the Contesting Candidate and the Introduction of an open ballot system was introduced.
  • Exemption of travelling expenditure from being included in the election expenses of the Candidate was made.
  • Restrictions were imposed on conducting exit Polls and Publishing the results of exit Polls.
  • Provision was made for the disqualification of a Person found guilty of Corrupt Practices.
  • Appointment of appellate authorities within the district.
  • Voting rights for Citizens of India living abroad were provided in 2010.
  • The ceiling on election expenditure was increased.
  • Those who are deemed unsound of mind and People Convicted of Certain Criminal offences are not allowed to vote.
  • Introduced Electoral Photo Identity Card, also allows certain alternative documents like government I-Cards, Passports, PAN Cards, driving license, bank/Post office account Passbook, Property documents, SC/ST/OBC Certificate, Pension documents, Job cards issued under NREGA and Health insurance Scheme Smart Cards to establish the identity of the electors in the Polling Stations.
  • Introduced by 52nd Amendment Act, for the disqualification of the members of Parliament and the State legislatures on the ground of defection from one Political Party to another.
    • Disqualification on grounds of defection is not to apply in the case of a Split.
  • Model Code of Conduct evolved by Election Commission based on a consensus among political parties.
  • All Recognised National and State Parties have been allowed free access to the State-owned electronic media: AIR and Doordarshan.
  • NOTA Option - In its efforts of Cleansing the Political System, Supreme Court upheld the right of voters to reject all candidates contesting the elections.


Election Commission of India

  • It is a permanent constitutional body.
  • Article 324 of the constitution establishes the Election Commission of India.
  • It was established on 25th January 1950.
  • It supervises the conduct of elections to Parliament and Legislature of every State and elections to the offices of 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.

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Appointment of Election Commissioners

  • The President appoints Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.
  • Tenure of 6 years, or up to the age of 65 years, 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
    • Other members can be removed by the President 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.