Election Commission of India is a body constitutionally empowered for the purpose of conducting a free and fair election in Union and State Legislature. It is an autonomous constitutional body, which is responsible for the election process to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies and the office of President and Vice President of India.
India is being a democratic country, its elections are conducted by the Election Commission. Holding periodic, free and fair elections are essentials of a democratic system and a part of the basic structure of the Constitution. The Election Commission of India is regarded as the guardian of elections in the country. It issues a Model Code of Conduct for political parties and candidates to conduct elections in a free and fair manner in every election. The commission had issued such code for the first time in 1971 for the 5th Lok Sabha Elections and revised it from time to time.
It lays down guidelines or rule of electoral morality, which specifies how a political party or candidate should conduct during the time period of elections.
The election commission allows the symbols to the political parties. It also gives recognition to the national parties, state parties, and regional parties. The Election Commission prepare electoral rolls and update the voter’s list from time to time. Notifications of dates and schedules of election for filing nominations are issued by the Election Commission.
Election Commission of India is consists of a Chief Election Commissioner and two other Election Commissioner who are usually retired IAS (Indian Administrative Officer). Before 1989 the Commission had only one member who was the Chief Election Commissioner, but two additional commissioners were appointed for the first time on 16th October 1989.
The Election Commission of India is an independent body like Judiciary, Union Public Service Commission etc., the commission has power under the Constitution, and it operated its functions as per the provisions of Article 324 of the Constitution and Representation of People Act.
Appointment of Election Commissioner:
Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners are appointed by the President of India for a term of 6 years. They enjoy tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. The Chief Election Commissioner of Election Commissioners enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Judges of the Supreme Court of India.
Removal from office:
The procedure for the removal of Chief Election Commissioner is similar to the removal of Judge of Supreme Court of India. The Chief Election Commissioner can only be removed by a resolution passed by both houses of Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) with two-thirds majority on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity.
Other Election Commissioners can be removed by the President of India on the recommendation of the Chief Election Commissioner. But such recommendation is not binding on the President.