|13||Jammu & Kashmir|
India is the most successful democratic country in the world. People of the country decide their representatives in government bodies through formal and informal elections. These elections are conducted by an independent government entity called “Election Commission of India”.
Elections of Lok Sabha (Parliament) and State Legislative Assemblies are conducted by ECI (Election Commission of India) while local body elections are managed by state election commissions.
India follows federalism in which, at top, central government rules entire nation with set of powers defined by its constitution. State governments rule a predefined territorial boundary. Currently India has 29 states and 7 union territories. Municipal corporations, Nagar Panchayats and Gram Panchayats are low level government federal bodies in hierarchy.
Election results decide members of government bodies at any level. For example: Members of Mumbai municipal corporation, generally termed as corporators, are elected by a formal election in the city. People of the city poll their vote to elect their corporators in respective areas. Candidate securing highest votes in an area, becomes one of the members in the corporation.
Election commission of India, generally known as ECI, is the main constitutional administrative body for conducting elections in India. Constitution of India has provided several powers to ECI, so that it can conduct free and fair elections.
Election commission of India came into existence on 25th January 1950. Since then, it performs its operations under the supervision of one chief election commissioner (CEC) and two election commissioners. Chief election commissioner act as the chairman of this independent body. They are appointed by the president of India for a term of 6 years. Parliament has right to remove chief election commissioner any time through impeachment.
To ease its various works, ECI has formed different state level election commissions. Head of these commissions are generally senior civil servants.
Indian citizens after the age of 18 can register themselves at various local election commission offices. After the successful registration election commission issues voter IDs to them. With this ID, citizens can take part in any election.
ECI registers political parties and looks after their functioning. It has right to debar them for any misconduct.
ECI also looks after advisory jurisdiction in various post-election matters.
It takes decision in use of various technologies to ease its functioning. For example in 1982, it introduced EVMs (Electronic Voting Machine) for recording votes.
Over the years, ECI has been successful in restoring people faith in democracy with its impartial decisions and it has earned huge respect in the mind of Indian citizens.