About Election Commission of India:
The Election Commission of India mostly known as ECI is a constitutional body which is responsible for conducting and managing elections in India in accordance with the regulations and rules mentioned in Indian Constitution.
The establishment of Election Commission of India was on 25th January 1950 with an aim to control the elections processes which are conducted at various levels like Parliament elections, State Legislature elections, President Office elections and Vice President Elections. The Election Commission of India assures the smooth and successful working of the democracy.
Role of ECI (Election Commission of India):
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It has the most critical challenge of implementing Model Code of Conduct and norms to assure fair and free elections in the Nation. By history, its existence and functioning has shown that the elections are not free from wrecking. So, it has been developed to look after candidates and political parties and take immediate action in the case of violations of rules.
Structure of ECI – Election Commission of India:
The Secretariat of the Commission is situated in New Delhi and has 300 officials. The Director Generals and Deputy Election Commissioners are the higher authority officers in the secretariat.
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The Indian President selects and appoints the Chief Election Commissioner of India, who works for 6 years and should retire at the age of 65. The elected Commissioner is mostly a Civil Services member and more often, of the IRS (Indian Revenue Services) or the IAS (Indian Administrative Services). He can be only removed from his position through impeachment process, which is to be carried out in the Parliament. On the Chief Election Commissioner’s recommendation, the President of India can remove other officers from their positions.
Powers and Functions of ECI (Election Commission of India):
- It is considered as the superintendent of fair and free elections.
- It provides Model Code of Conduct to candidates and political parties in every election to maintain the dignity of democracy.
- It monitors political parties and registers them for being eligible to participate in the elections.
- It provides the allowed limits of expenditure for campaign per candidate to all the political parties and also supervises the same.
- All the parties must submit their annual reports to ECI for receiving contributions and tax benefits.
- It makes sure that all parties submit their financial reports regularly.
Some of the powers which are put in hold and used by the Election Commission:
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- The results of opinion polls can be suppressed by the Commission if it is considered as action fit for the cause of democracy.
- If any member has violated certain guidelines after elections, the commission has the authority to order for the disqualification of members.
- In case a candidate is found of blaming of corrupt practices in the election process, the High Courts and the Supreme Court consults the commission.
- The Commission also has the authority to suspend candidates who fail to submit their accounts of timely election expense.
New Initiatives taken by ECI (Election Commission of India):
The ECI has taken numerous steps to bring various reforms and improvements in the election procedure. Some of them are mentioned below:
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- EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) were initiated to increase the efficiency and reliability. With this system, it takes only 3-4 days to declare the elections results.
- The official website of ECI was launched on 28th February 1998 to give appropriate information and results of elections instantly.
- EPICs (Electoral Photo Identity Cards were provided in the year 1993 to avoid fraud system. From the elections of 2004, these EVMs were made mandatory.
Few more initiatives taken in the recent years by Election Commission of India are:
- New guidelines on State owned electronic media for broadcasting.
- Instances inspection of criminalisation in Politics.
- Computerised electoral rolls.
- Simplification of maintenance and filling of accounts.
- Measures for proper enforcement of Model Code of Court.
- In Additional, the model code of court is also provided to the news media for fair, proper and impartial media coverage of Indian elections.
Budget and Expenses of Election Commission of India:
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The Union Finance Ministry and the Election Commission of India concludes the budget for the Secretariat which is legally answerable for independent budget. Generally, the Ministry of Finance supports the recommendations of Election Commission. The Union Government bears the entire expenses of the Lok Sabha (parliamentary) elections but the concerned states and Union Territories have to manage the elections expenses being held. If the assembly elections and the parliamentary elections are held at the same time, the budget is equally shared among the concerned states and the Union Government.
Address of ECI:
Election Commission of India,
Ashok Road, New Delhi, Pin Code: 11001
Contact details of ECI:
Phone: 011 2371 7391
Fax: 011 2371 3412
Official Website of Election Commission of India: http://eci.nic.in/