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ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA: EVOLUTION AND ROLE



  Apr 26, 2024

ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA: EVOLUTION AND ROLE



1. What is the Election Commission of India (ECI)?

The ECI is a constitutional body established on January 25, 1950, tasked with administering election processes in India. It ensures free and fair elections for the Lok Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies, and various other elections mandated by the Constitution.

2. How has the ECI evolved since the first general election?

Since the first general election in 1951-52, the ECI has seen significant evolution. Initially led by a single Chief Election Commissioner, it now includes multiple commissioners. Innovations like Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs), and electronic electoral photo identity cards (e-EPIC) have modernized voting processes and strengthened electoral integrity.

3. What are some significant reforms introduced by the ECI?

Key reforms include the introduction of EVMs to combat “booth capturing”, the implementation of VVPAT systems to ensure transparency, and the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18 years. These changes have expanded the electorate and enhanced the verifiability of the electoral process.

4. What controversies have surrounded the ECI?

The ECI has faced controversies regarding the security of EVMs and the potential for their misuse. Criticisms have also targeted the perceived commodification of elections and the enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct, which some see as overreaching or inconsistently applied.

5. How has the ECI responded to technological challenges and security concerns?

In response to concerns over EVM security, the ECI introduced VVPAT systems, which allow voters to verify their vote cast on an EVM through a physical paper trail. This measure aims to increase trust and transparency in the electronic voting process.

6. What was the impact of T.N. Seshan’s tenure as Chief Election Commissioner?

T.N. Seshan is credited with vigorously enforcing the Model Code of Conduct and introducing electors’ photo identity cards (EPICs). His tenure marked a significant shift towards more stringent oversight of elections and electoral practices, earning him a reputation for strict governance.

7. How has the appointment process for the ECI changed recently?

Previously, the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners were appointed solely by the President of India. Recent legislation has modified this process by establishing a selection committee, although this has not included the Chief Justice of India as once suggested by the Supreme Court.

These FAQs provide a snapshot of the ECI’s pivotal role in shaping and safeguarding Indian democracy through continuous adaptation and reform.



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