Question: Critically analyse the functions and role of election commission in smoothly conducting elections in India.
Answer: The Election Commission (EC) is a constitutional body under Article 324 of the constitution. The election commission conducts elections for Parliament, State assemblies, President and Vice President.
Functions of election commission
- Recognising political parties
The election commission recognises political parties in India as well as states. It provides them symbols and allocates resources for contesting elections. They also resolve disputes between political groups for electoral symbols.
- Eligibility candidates
Election commission provides eligibility criteria for candidates to fight elections. The EC makes use of provisions in the constitution as well as Representation of Peoples Act,1951 for deciding eligibility.
- Election disputes
Disputes regarding election results are solved by the election commission in a non partial manner. It removes scope for counter claims between candidates.
Success of EC in conducting impartial elections
- Imposition of Model code of conduct
The EC imposes a model code which is imposed to prevent political party in power to misuse its administration. It helps in levelling field for all political parties to fight and win elections.
- Disqualification of candidates
It disqualifies non eligible candidates from fighting elections if they are found to have indulging in malpractices such as corruption, non-filing election expenses, propagating hatred etc.
Failure to conduct impartial elections
- Conflict of interest
Election commission members are not debarred from employment after their retirement. This provides them with scope to indulge in conflict of interest.
- Non-punishment against hate speech
Hate speech by political leaders are not punished and this allows them to polarize the elections based on religion, caste or language. This creates further rift in different groups.
Election commission has been pretty successful in its efforts to conduct impartial elections but still lots is left to achieve.
Indian election commission is an example for efficient election management. Certain issues have created doubts but it is still a force to reckon.