|Demand of the question |
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Discuss the functions of Election Commission of India. Discuss how Election Commission ensure free and fair elections in India?
Conclusion. Way forward.
Election Commission of India plays a crucial role in organising elections. The most significant role of the Election Commission of India is to ensure free and fair elections as per the norms and the Model Code of Conduct. It is in charge of monitoring the actions and activities of the political parties and candidates and try to ensure free, fair and transparent elections in India.
Functions of Election Commission of India:
- Election Commission of India superintendents, direct and control the entire process of conducting elections to Parliament and Legislature of every State and to the offices of President and Vice-President of India.
- The most important function of the commission is to decide the election schedules for the conduct of periodic and timely elections, whether general or bye-elections.
- It prepares electoral roll, issues Electronic Photo Identity Card (EPIC).
- It decides on the location polling stations, assignment of voters to the polling stations, location of counting centres, arrangements to be made in and around polling stations and counting centres and all allied matters.
- It grants recognition to political parties & allot election symbols to them along with settling disputes related to it.
- 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 election for political parties and candidates so that the no one indulges in unfair practice or there is no arbitrary abuse of powers by those in power.
- It sets limits of campaign expenditure per candidate to all the political parties, and also monitors the same.
How Election Commission ensure free and fair elections in India?
- Election Commission ensure free and fair election by enforcing and maintaining a model code of conduct before elections and punishes any candidate or party that violates it.
- The Commission had gone to the extent of disciplining the political parties with a threat of de-recognising if the parties failed in maintaining inner-party democracy.
- It upholds the values enshrined in the Constitution viz, equality, equity, impartiality, independence; and rule of law in superintendence, direction, and control over the electoral governance.
- It conducts elections with the highest standard of credibility, freeness, fairness, transparency, integrity, accountability, autonomy and professionalism.
- It ensures participation of all eligible citizens in the electoral process in an inclusive voter-centric and voter-friendly environment.
- It engages with political parties and all stakeholders in the interest of the electoral process.
- It creates awareness about the electoral process and electoral governance amongst stakeholders namely, voters, political parties, election functionaries, candidates and people at large; and to enhance and strengthen confidence and trust in the electoral system of this country.
- During the times of elections, it can order the government to follow some guidelines towards making the elections free and fair.
- At the time of election duty, the government officers work under the control of EC and not the ruling party.
- The Commission approaches the government well in advance to obtain the names of senior officers for the purpose of appointment as observers before any election.
- Commission via SVEEP, ECI engages more and more voters in the electoral process and ensure their ethical and inducement-free participation in voting.
For the last 15 years, the EC is exercising its powers to full potential and has even increased them. Today the free and fair elections are just because of the working of EC. The internal system of monitoring by neutral and senior government officers has become time tested and been proving to be very useful during elections. Over the years influence of money and criminal elements in politics has increased along with violence and electoral malpractices resulting in criminalisation of politics. The ECI has been able to arrest this but not completely.