What is Election Commision: Shri Sunil Arora Takes New Chief Election Commissioner of India (Download PDF)


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Sunil Arora assumed charge as 23rd Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India. He succeeded OP Rawat who retired on 1st Dec. , 2018. Lets take this opportunity to dig into details of Election Commission of India.

Image of The Modal Hierarchy

Image of The Modal Hierarchy

Image of The Modal Hierarchy

Election Commission of India (ECI)

Election Commission of India: Constitutional Body

  • India is Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic & largest democracy in World.

  • Free & fair elections at regular intervals enshrined in Constitution, Electoral Laws & System.

  • Constitution of India vested powers in ECI for superintendence, direction & control of elections to Parliament & Legislature of every State & to offices of President & Vice-President of India.

  • ECI is permanent Constitutional Body established on 25th January 1950.

Structure of Election Commission of India

  • Originally had only Chief Election Commissioner

  • Currently consists of Chief Election Commissioner & 2 Election Commissioners.

  • 2 additional Commissioners were appointed on 16th Oct. , 1989 till 1st Jan. , 1990.

  • Again on 1st Oct. , 1993 2 additional Election Commissioners were appointed & multi-member Commission is in operation since then, w/decisions by majority vote.

Appointment & Tenure of Commissioners for Election Commission of India

  • President appoints Chief Election Commissioner & Election Commissioners for tenure of 6 years, or up to age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

  • Enjoy same status, salary & benefits as Judges of SC of India.

  • Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only thru impeachment by Parliament.

Transaction of Business of Election Commission of India

  • Commission holds regular meetings & circulates papers.

  • Commissioners have equal say in decision-making.

  • Commission delegates some of its executive functions to officers in Secretariat.

Setup of Election Commission of India

  • Separate Secretariat at New Delhi, w/about 300 officials hierarchy.

  • 2 or 3 Deputy Election Commissioners & Director Generals- senior most officers assist Commission. They are generally appointed from national civil service & selected & appointed by Commission w/tenure.

  • Directors, Principal Secretaries & Secretaries, Under Secretaries & Deputy Directors support Deputy Election Commissioners & Director Generals.

  • Main functional divisions are Planning, Judicial, Administration, Systematic Voters’ Education & Electoral Participation, SVEEP, Information Systems, Media & Secretariat Co-ordination.

  • Territorial distribution is into separate units responsible for different zones- grouping of 35 constituent states & union territories for easy management.

  • At state level overall superintendence, direction & control of commission done by Chief Electoral Officer of State appointed by Commission from amongst senior civil servants proposed state govt.

  • At district & constituency levels, District Election Officers, Electoral Registration Officers & Returning Officers are assisted by large number of junior functionaries

Budget & Expenditure of Election Commission of India

Secretariat of Commission has independent budget finalized directly in consultation b/w Commission & Finance Ministry. Latter generally accepts recommendations of Commission for its budgets.

Executive Interference Barred in Election Commission of India

ECI is insulated from executive interference- independently deciding election schedules for conduct of election, location of polling stations, assignment of voters to polling stations, location of counting centers, arrangements in & around polling stations & counting centers & all allied matters.

Political Parties & Election Commission of India

Political parties are registered w/Election Commission under law w/Commission ensuring inner party democracy in their functioning by holding organizational elections at periodic intervals.

Advisory Jurisdiction & Quasi-Judicial Functions of Election Commission of India

  • Commission has advisory jurisdiction in matter of post-election disqualification of sitting members of Parliament & State Legislatures.

  • Persons found guilty of corrupt practices at elections before SC & High Courts referred to Commission for its opinion w/opinion binding on President or Governor to whom such opinion is tendered.

  • Commission has power to disqualify candidate who fails to lodge account of his election expenses.

Judicial Review under Election Commission of India

Decisions of Commission can be challenged in High Court & SC of India by appropriate petitions.

By long-standing convention judiciary does not intervene in conduct of polls once actual process of elections has started.

Once poll result declared, Commission cannot review any result. This can only be reviewed thru process of election petition filed before High Court or SC.

Voter Education Done by Election Commission of India

Commission in 2009, formally adopted Voter Education & Electoral participation as integral part of its election management.

International Co-Operation for Election Commission of India

  • India is founding member of International Institute for Democracy & Electoral Assistance (IDEA), Stockholm, Sweden.

  • Commission expands international contacts by sharing experiences & expertise in areas of Electoral Management & Administration, Electoral Laws & Reforms.

  • Election Officials from national electoral bodies from several countries - Russia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indonesia, South Africa, Bangladesh, Thailand, Nigeria, Namibia, Bhutan, Australia, US & Afghanistan visited Commission for understanding Indian Electoral Process.

New Initiatives by Election Commission of India

  • Scheme for use of State owned Electronic Media for broadcast & telecast by Political parties

  • Checking criminalization of politics

  • Computerization of electoral rolls

  • Providing electors w/Identity Cards

  • Simplifying procedure for maintenance of accounts & filling of same by candidates

  • Measures for strict compliance of Model Code of Conduct

Sunil Arora

  • Born on 13th April 1956.

  • Sunil Arora is retired IAS officer of1980-batch from Rajasthan cadre.

  • He had retired in April 2016 as Information & Broadcasting secretary.

  • He was skill development secretary.

  • He has worked in ministries & departments such as Finance, Textiles & Planning Commission & has served as CMD of Indian Airlines for 5 years.

  • In his home state, he had served as principal secretary of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje from 2005 to 2008.

  • He will have nearly two-and-a-half-year tenure as CEC & General Election 2019 to 17thLok Sabha will be conducted under his stewardship. Prior to assuming this, charge he was serving as Election Commissioner in Election Commission of India (ECI) from September 2017.

- Published/Last Modified on: January 28, 2019

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