Electoral System

Indian Electoral System

The electoral system of India is largely based on the British pattern. Parliament has passed a number of laws to regulate the electoral system. Some prominent laws enacted by the Parliament include Representation of People’s Act, 1950, Representation of People’s Act 1951 etc.

The main features of the electoral system are-

(1) It is based on universal adult franchise, which means that all citizens above the age of 18 years are entitled to take part in elections provided they have registered themselves as voters and fulfill certain conditions.
(2) There is a single electoral body and the system of communal representation has been done away with.
(3) Representation is based on the territorial principle. Elections are held on the basis of single member constituencies.

Election Commission

The Constitution provides for an independent Election Commission to ensure free and fair elections. The Election Commission consists of a Chief Election Commissioner and such other commissioners as the President may decide from time to time. In October 1993 the Government promulgated an Act which provided for the appointment of Election Commissioners.

At present there is a Chief Election Commissioner and two other Election Commissioners who are appointed by the President for a five year term. The term can be cut short on account of resignation or removal by the President on grounds of proved misbehavior or incapacity on the recommendations of the Parliament.

Functions of the Election Commission

(1) To superintend, direct and control elections to the Parliament and the state legislature
(2) To conduct elections of the post of the President and Vice President
(3) To lay down general rules for elections
(4) To determine constituencies and to control the preparations of electoral rolls, allot symbols to recognized political parties
(5) To settle any disputes arising in connection with the elections
(6) Conduct counting and declare results
(7) Postpone or countermand elections for specific reasons.

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