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Features of Indian Constitution: Focus on Electoral Process

Posted by Admin on June 18, 2014 | Comment

The Constitution of India lays down the framework pertaining to every political procedure. It defines the policies, rights, duties and powers to be bestowed upon the government institutions and common people. Similarly, the constitution meticulously explains the fundamental rules for the electoral processes.

Features of the Indian Constitution

Article 324 of Indian Constitution: Duties and Powers of Election Commission

The Constitution grants Election Commission the authority to take decisions and direct the end-to-end electoral process. Be it the Parliamentary polls or the elections to State Legislatures, the commission has to perform the task of scrutinising the process of preparing electoral rolls. The same is true for the elections to the offices of President and Vice President of the nation.

Constitution clearly states that Election Commission shall comprise of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and a number of other commissioners (if any). The power is vested upon the President to appoint the Chief Election Commissioner. He/she can continue in office for either a period of six years or till the age of 65. A CEC enjoys the same official status and remuneration as given to a Judge of the High Court and Supreme Court of India.

The President can also appoint Regional Commissioners prior to Parliamentary polls or State Legislature elections, to assist the Election Commission in conducting free and fair elections. The terms and conditions pertaining to the service of an Election Commissioner are determined by the President. In order to facilitate the smooth conduction of elections, the President or Governor of a State can make additional staff available to the Election Commission, if requested by the latter.

Article 325 & 326 of Indian Constitution: Voters’ Rights

As per the constitutional provision, no individual can be discriminated on the grounds of caste, race, religion, or sex. The mandate is very precise and comprehensive. Only one electoral roll should be prepared for every territorial constituency, be it the election to the house of the Parliament or to the State Legislatures. Neither a voter can be made “ineligible for inclusion” in the electoral roll or “claim to be included” on discriminatory grounds.

Our constitution sticks to the concept of universal adult suffrage to empower every individual with the right to participate in the electoral process. According to Article 326, every citizen of India who is not less than 18 years of age is entitled to vote for the Parliamentary as well as State Assembly elections. Unless an individual is “disqualified under this Constitution or any law” due to “non-residence, unsoundness of mind, crime or corrupt or illegal practice,” he/she certainly qualifies to be registered as a voter.

Article 327 & 328 of Indian Constitution: Power of Parliament and State Legislature

Article 327 gives Parliament the right to have a greater say in matters related to the elections to both the houses of Parliament and State Legislatures. It has the power to make necessary provisions for preparation of electoral rolls and delimitation of constituencies “for securing the due constitution of such House or Houses.” State legislatures enjoy similar powers under Article 328.

Article 329 of Indian Constitution: Prohibiting Courts’ Interference in Electoral Matters

The Constitution doesn’t give a court the authority to question the validity of laws related to the delimitation of constituencies or seats allotment to such constituencies, according to the Article 327 or Article 328. Elections to both houses of the Parliament or State Legislature cannot be called in question by the court. At the most, they can present an election petition to the respective authority, as per the laws made by the appropriate Legislature.