Former Finance Secretary and retired IAS officer Rajiv Kumar has been appointed Election Commissioner (EC).
Mr. Kumar has been appointed in place of Ashok Lavasa, who has resigned to join the Asian Development of Bank.
Q. What is Election Commission of India?
The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering Union and State election processes in India.
The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, and State Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country.
Part XV of the Indian constitution deals with elections, and establishes a commission for these matters.
Article 324 to 329 of the constitution deals with powers, function, tenure, eligibility, etc of the commission and the member.
Q. What is the structure of the Commission?
Originally the commission had only one election commissioner but after the Election Commissioner Amendment Act 1989, it has been made a multi-member body.
The commission consists of one Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.
The secretariat of the commission is located in New Delhi.
At the state level election commission is helped by Chief Electoral Officer who is an IAS rank Officer.
The President appoints Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.
They have a fixed tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
They enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Judges of the Supreme Court of India.
The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only through a process of removal similar to that of a Supreme Court judge for by Parliament.
Q. What is procedure for its removal?
Judges of High Courts and Supreme Court, Chief Election Commissioner , Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) may be Removed from office through a motion adopted by Parliament on grounds of ‘Proven misbehaviour or incapacity’.
Removal requires special majority of 2/3rd members present and voting supported by more than 50% of the total strength of the house.
Q. What are its functions?
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 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 postelection 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.
Q. What are articles in Constitution related to it?
Articles related to Elections
Superintendence, direction and control of elections to be vested in an Election Commission.
No person to be ineligible for inclusion in, or to claim to be included in a special, electoral roll on grounds of religion, race, caste or sex.
Elections to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assemblies of States to be on the basis of adult suffrage.
Power of Parliament to make provision with respect to elections to Legislatures.
Power of Legislature of a State to make provision with respect to elections to such Legislature.
Bar to interference by courts in electoral matters.