IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Impartiality of election Commission

21st December, 2021 Polity

Figure 2: No Copyright Infringement Intended


  • The informal meeting between Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners with the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister have raised questions of propriety.

Powers of election commission:

  • Determining the Electoral Constituencies’ territorial areas throughout the country.
  • Preparing and periodically revising electoral rolls and registering all eligible voters.
  • Notifying the schedules and dates of elections and scrutinising nomination papers.
  • Granting recognition to the various political parties and allocating them election symbols.
  • The Commission also has advisory jurisdiction in the matter of post-election disqualification of sitting members of Parliament and State Legislatures.
  • It issues the Model Code of Conduct in elections for political parties and candidates so that no one indulges in unfair practice or there is no arbitrary abuse of powers by those in power.


Challenges on the Functioning of Election Commission

  • Decline of Trust: As election commission is increasingly being seen as a body more closely to the government than working independently.  Position parties have accused it of going slow against certain political party.
  • Lack of Transparency in appointment: there are no safeguards in the procedure for its own appointments. The government picks the commissioners with no consultation.
  • Arbitrary standards: Election commission has issued gag against using army photographs in the political campaign. But, allowed certain leaders to use the army in their campaign thus discriminating against political parties.
  • Delay in cases: Election commission is taking time to clear the cases which is leading to cause confusion and decline of trust.
  • Failing to regulate income tax raids: The commission also failed to check the Department of Revenue, which conducted raids on members of Opposition parties, without keeping it informed.

Way Forward:

  • 2nd ARC report recommended that collegium headed by the Prime Minister with the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the Law Minister and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha as members should make recommendations for the consideration of the President for appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commissioners
  • Law Commission 255th Report on Electoral Reforms: Strengthening the office of the Election Commission of India recommended Making the appointment process of the Election Commissioners and the CEC consultative
  • Financial Independence: Expenditure of the election commission must be charged on the consolidated fund of India. 
  • Enhancing Power: Election commission must be given more power to regulate the expenditure of political party. Currently, election commission can regulate individual spending but not the spending by Political party.
  • ECI must also be given more power to deal with repeat offenders or leaders who use religion or caste in political rallies. Currently, EC can only issue the notice to such leaders.