ELECTORAL REFORMS: IN INDIA
“The health of a democracy depends on the choice of representatives and leaders, which in turn is directly linked to the way political parties function and elections are conducted”. The government of India is quasi-judicial; theofficials are elected at the federal, state and local levels. The head of the Government, Prime Minister is indirectly elected by the people of the country, through the General Election where the leader of the party winning in majority is selected to be the Prime Minister. All members of the federal legislature, the Parliament, are directly elected. Elections in India take place every five years by universal adult suffrage . India is the largest democracy in the World. Since 1947 then free and fair elections have been held at regular intervals as per the principles of the Constitution, Electoral Laws and System. The Constitution of India has vested in the Election Commission of India the superintendence , direction and control of the entire process for conduct of elections to Parliament and Legislature of every State and to the offices of President and Vice-President of India. An independent Election Commission has been established under the Constitution in order to carry out and regulate the holding of elections in India.
The Election Commission was established in accordance with the Constitution on 25th January 1950. Originally a Chief Election Commissioner ran the commission, but first in 1989 and later again in 1993 two additional Election Commissioners were appointed. The Election Commission is responsible for the conduct of elections to parliament and state legislatures and to the offices of the President and Vice-President.
Indian Elections, the Largest Event in the World
The independence of India came with the sorrow of partition of the country. After independence the main aim of the members of the constituent assembly was to make independent constitution for the country that would serve the people with the greatest happiness and prosperity. There was a requirement of democratic Government in India, which required the General Elections to be held in the country of 17 Crore eligible voters that time. General elections to the first Lok Sabha since independence were held in India between 25 October 1951 and 21 February 1952. These Elections are known as 1952 Elections as most part of India casted its vote in this year. The Indian National Congress (INC) stormed into power with 364 of the 489 seat. Conduct of General Elections in India for electing a new Lower House of Parliament (Lok Sabha) involves management of the largest event in the world. The electorate exceeds 668 million voting in 800,000 polling stations spread across widely varying geographic and climatic zones. Polling stations are located in the snow-clad mountains in the Himalayas, the deserts of the Rajasthan and in sparsely populated islands in the Indian Ocean.
Legal Provisions Regarding Election Verdicts
The decisions of the Commission can be challenged in the High Court and the Supreme Court of the India by appropriate petitions. By long standing convention and several judicial pronouncements, once the actual process of elections has started, the judiciary does not intervene in the actual conduct of the polls. Once the polls are completed and result declared, the Commission cannot review any result on its own. This can only be reviewed through the process of an election petition, which can be filed before the High Court, in respect of elections to the Parliament and State Legislatures. In respect of elections for the offices of the President and Vice President, such petitions can only be filed before the Supreme Court. Now after discussing all these provisions, laid down under Constitution of India regarding Election Commission, the elections, the election officers, the grave question arises is that whether the Elections are conducted fairly and...
Bibliography: The Second Administrative Reforms Commission (2008)
Election Commission of India – Proposed Electoral Reforms (2004)
National Commission to review the Working of the Constitution (2001)
Law Commission Report on Reform of the Electoral Laws (1999)
Vohra Committee Report (1993)
Indrajit Gupta Committee on State Funding of Elections (1998)
Goswami Committee on Electrol Reforms (1990)
Report prepared by ADR and NEW for Electoral and Political Reforms
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