Role and Functions of the Election Commission of India

In this article, we will discuss the Role and Functions of the Election Commission of India

Role and Functions of the Election Commission of India


Why do we need an Election Commission in our country?

Free, fair, and regular timely election ensures true democracy. As the first president of America, Abraham Lincoln said, Democracy is “government of, by and for the people”. Democracy is a philosophy of people ruling and people giving their consent. It is known as a mandate. This mandate can be given by any person whether rich or poor.

Thus without free, fair, and regular timely elections, democracy would not exist. In this regard, Election Commission plays an important role in ensuring a meaningful democracy in any country.

Role and Functions of the Election Commission of India-

The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering the Union and state election process in India the body administers elections to Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, and state legislative assemblies in India and offices of the President and the Vice-President in the country.

Article 324 to 329 in part XV of the constitution of India deals with the Election Commission of India:

324. Superintendence, direction, and control of elections to be vested in an election commission

325.  No person to be ineligible for inclusion in, or to claim to be included in a special, electoral roll on grounds of religion, race, caste, or sex

326.  Elections to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assemblies of states to be on the basis of adult suffrage

327. Power of Parliament to make provision with respect to elections to Legislatures

328.   Power of Legislature of a state to make provision with respect to elections to such Legislature

329.  Bar to interference by courts in electoral matters

Statutory Laws-

Representation of the People Act, 1950

  • This Act was enacted to provide for the allocation of seats in the house of the people and in the legislative assemblies and legislative councils of States.
  • According to this act, the President of India after consultation with the  Election Commission has the power to delimit various constituencies’ seats for election.

Representation of the People Act, 1951

This act includes-

  • Actual conduct of the election
  • Qualifications and disqualification for the membership of Parliament and state legislatures
  • Registration of political parties
  • Nomination of candidates
  • The poll and the counting of votes
  • Declaration of Assets and liabilities by the candidates, etc.

Designating Officers-

The election commission of India is a three-member body consisting of one Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners. The President of India appoints the Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioner. They have a fixed tenure of 6 years or 65 years of age. The Secretariat of the commission is located in New Delhi.

Chief Electoral Officer- The Chief Electoral Officer of a state/union territory is authorized to supervise the election work.

Presiding officer- The presiding officer with the assistance of polling officers conducts the poll at the polling station. 

Returning officer-  Candidates give their nomination data to returning officer.  The Election Commission of India nominates an officer of the government as the returning officer for each of the assembly and Parliamentary constituencies in consultation with that state and union territory.

Other Reforms-

Voting age

The adaptation of Universal suffrage is a great and bold venture of the constituent assembly. It provides an opportunity for the youth of the country to express their feelings and become a part of the political process. Universal adult suffrage is imposed by bringing out article 326. The First Constitutional Amendment Act of 1918 took the voting age to 18 years.

Electronic Voting Machines

Electronic Voting Recording Machine (EVRM), now EVMs is invented by M.B. Haneefa. EVMs are electronic voting machines that provide the voter with a button for each choice and it is linked by a cable to an electronic ballot box.

It comprises two units control unit and a balloting unit. The control unit is with the polling officer appointed by the election commission and the balloting unit is in the voting compartment into which the voters enters to cast his or her vote in secret by pressing the button against the name and symbol of the candidates of his or her choice

Advantages of EVMs

  • The voting process is very simple and easy through EVMs.
  • These are cost-effective in the long run.
  • It reduces the possibility of invalid and doubtful votes which were the root cause for many election petitions.
  • It is paper saving, nil cost of printing saving a large number of trees making the process eco-friendly.
  • It provides faster counting of voting results.
  • Don’t need electricity, it is powered by batteries.

Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT)

Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) is attached with the EVMs that allows the voters to verify their casting votes. When a vote is cast, a slip is printed which remains exposed to a transparent window for 7 seconds, showing the serial number, name, and symbol of the candidates. Thereafter the receipt automatically gets cut and falls into the sealed dropbox of the VVPAT.

Advantages of VVPAT

  • Introducing VVPAT ensures the accuracy and transparency of the voting system.
  • It is an indispensable requirement of free and fair elections.
  • It eliminates the chances of disputes during the counting of voting results.

Introduction of NOTA option

NOTA is an abbreviation for ‘None of the Above’. It is mentioned at the end of the list of candidates. Voters who don’t consider any of the candidates eligible to cast their vote can decide not to vote for any of the candidates. The votes against the NOTA option are not taken into account for calculating the total valid votes polled by the contesting candidates. NOTA is nearly a method of expression, there is no possibility of electoral victory or losses by it.

The introduction of Brail signage features in EVMs to facilitate visually impaired voters to cast their votes without the help of attendants is another reform taken by ECI.

Introduction of Electoral Bonds

In 2018, the Government of India notified the Electoral Bond scheme. It is an alternative to cash donations made to the political party. It is aimed at bringing clean money and transparency into the system of political funding.

The salient features of this scheme are- 

  • The Electoral Bond means a bond issued in the nature of promissory note which is a bearer banking instrument and does not carry the name of the buyer or payee.
  • It may be purchased by a citizen of India or entities established in India.
  • It can be used for making donations to only those registered political parties which have secured not less than 1% of the votes polled in the last general election to the Lok Sabha or state legislative assemblies
  • The electoral bonds are issued in the denomination of RS. 1000, Rs. 10,000, Rs. 1,00,000, etc.

Voter ID card-

Voter ID, also known as Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC) issued by the Election Commission of India to Indian citizens who are eligible to vote. The purpose of voter ID is to serve as identity proof for voters. The voter ID card can be utilized to avail various government schemes as well. It increases efficiency and reduces fraud during an election process.


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