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Indian Constitution: Election-Related Provisions

Posted by Admin on December 19, 2014 | Comment

Indian Constitution: Election-Related Provisions 2.92/5 (58.46%) 13 votes

Laws pertaining to the elections in India are contained in Part XV of the Indian Constitution. The provisions mentioned in the Articles (324 to 329) cover all aspects of conducting elections starting from inclusion of names in electoral roll to formulation of laws pertaining to elections.

Different Articles in the Indian Constitution

Article 324 – Superintendence, Direction and Control of Elections

The Election Commission (EC) of India is the only entity that has been given the authority to supervise, direct and control elections. According to Article 324, the Election Commission should comprise the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and other Election Commissioners, who will be appointed by the President.

Article 324 has a provision for the President to appoint Regional Commissioners before each Parliamentary, Assembly and legislative council election. However, the appointment should happen after consulting the EC. The CEC holds his office for tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years.

According to the Article, the tenure of service for the Election Commissioners and the Regional Commissioners should be determined by the President. The process of removing CEC from his office is also explained in Article 324. Like a Supreme Court judge, the CEC can only be removed through impeachment by the Parliament. The Article also states that the removal of Election Commissioner or a Regional Commissioner takes place only after the recommendation of the CEC.

The Article gives the President and the Governor of the states the responsibility to provide additional staff to the Election Commission to enable efficient discharge of functions during the elections.

Article 325 – Inclusion of Names in Electoral Roll

According to Article 325, every constituency will have one electoral roll for both Parliamentary and Assembly elections and no person shall be included or excluded from the electoral roll on grounds of religion, race, caste and sex.

Article 326 – Elections to the Parliament and State Assemblies Based on Adult Suffrage

The practice of conducting elections to the Parliament and state legislatures on the basis of adult suffrage is enshrined in Article 326. It further states that every individual who is a citizen of India and has attained the voting age shall be entitled to be registered as a voter. The exception can happen if the person is disqualified on the ground of “non residence, unsoundness of mind, crime or corrupt or illegal practice.”

Article 327 – Power of Parliament to Formulate Laws

The Parliament considers Article 327 as an anchor for formulating any law for matters pertaining to elections to either house of the Parliament or the State Legislatures. The Article gives Parliament the power to formulate laws regarding the preparation of electoral rolls, delimitation of constituencies and relevant processes.

Article 328 – Power of State Legislature

The provisions of Article 327 are being replicated in this Article that empowers the state governments to establish new laws on “all matters relating to, or in connection with, the elections” to the state legislatures. As a manifestation of the government’s federal structure, the Indian Constitution guarantees every state the power to make provisions pertaining to the preparation of electoral rolls and other relevant matters.

Article 329 – Prohibits Court’s Interference in Electoral Matters

To prevent the judiciary from gaining supremacy and intervening in matters of governance, the Constitution has included Article 329. The Article prohibits courts’ interference in electoral matters. No court can question the validity of any law related to the delimitation of constituencies or the allotment of seats.

Amendments to the Indian Constitution

Electoral reforms had led to a series of constitutional amendments. It was during the time of emergency (1975 to be precise) when the 39th amendment of the Indian Constitution was enacted. The amendment was made to place the election of the President, the Vice President, the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the Lok Sabha beyond the scrutiny of the courts. The 52nd Amendment Act of 1985 set the provisions for disqualification of members of Parliament or State Legislature for defecting to another political party after elections. The 73rd and 74th amendments ensure direct election to all seats in Municipalities and Panchayats. The 73rd amendment also makes provisions for reservation of seats for SCs, STs and women.

WBSG19.12.2014

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