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Election Commission of India - Its powers and functions

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As a democratic country, India has an independent Election Commission in order to conduct systematic, corruption free and impartial elections as and when required. The architects of Indian Constitution knew how important elections are for the largest democratic country in the world; hence, they added information related to Election Commission and rules of elections in article 324-329 of the Constitution.

The Election Commission conducts Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Vidhana Sabha, Vidhana Parishat elections along with Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections. India has only one Election Commission and all the elections across the country are conducted as per the directions and guidelines of the commission.

The given information aims at helping UPSC civil services aspirants.

What is the structure of Election Commission?

The Election Commission comprises one Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners. Initially, this commission had a single member only. However, it became a three member commission after the recommendations of Dinesh Goswami Committee in the year 1990. The aforementioned recommendation was welcomed by the Supreme Court.

How are the election commissioners appointed?

The President of India appoints all the three Election Commissioners based on the advice of the Union Cabinet as per article 324 (2) of the Constitution.

In 1973, the tenure of election commissioners was fixed to 5 years. On 1 January 1986, the parliament increased the tenure to 6 years. However, if an election commissioner completes 65 years even before the completion of his tenure in the office, he/she would retire.

08 January 1991 brought a few changes in the election commission as the Lok Sabha passed a bill with an intention to provide the election commissioners with the same status, salary and other privileges similar to those enjoyed by the judges of the Apex Court.

The parliament decides the services to be delivered by the Election Commissioners. The staff required for the Election Commission is appointed as per the sub-article 324(6) of the Constitution. The election commissioners receive their salary from the Consolidated Fund of India.

Election Commission of India

How are the election commissioners dismissed from their power?

The election commissioners can be dismissed from their power as per the sub-article 324(5) of the Indian Constitution. The parliament can dismiss them through special majority by presenting the list of impeachment before the house. The Chief Election Commissioner can also advice the President of India to dismiss the two election commissioners under the sub-article mentioned above.

Here is the list of Chief Election Commissioners

1Sukumar Sen1950-1958
2K V Sundaram1958-1967
3S P Sen Verma1967-1972
4Dr. Nagendra Singh1972-1973
5T Swaminathan1973-1977
6S L Shakdhar1977-1982
7R K Trivedi1982-1985
8R V S Peri Sastri1986-1990
9V S RamadeviNov 1990-Dec 1990
10T N Seshan1990-1996
11Dr. M S Gill1996-2001
12J M Lyngdoh2001-2004
13T S Krishnamurthy2004-2005
14B B Tandon2005-2006
15N Gopalaswami2006-2009
16Navin Chawla2009-2010
17S Y Qureshi2010-2012
18V S Sampath2012-2015
19Nasim ZaidiApril 2015 -

We hope the description about Election Commission of India contributes to your preparation for UPSC and other exams with questions on general knowledge.

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