Headline : How Election Commission runs poll machinery?
- The article analysis how Election Commission draws manpower for polls, and what disciplinary control it exercises over these officers.
Election Commission of India:
- The Election Commission of India (ECI) is an autonomous constitutional body responsible for administering election processes in India.
- It was established on January 25, 1950.
- Elections administrated by the ECI
- Elections to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
- Elections to the state Legislative Assemblies and Legislative Councils
- Elections to the offices of the President and Vice President
- The Election Commission operates under the authority of Constitution per Article 324, and subsequently enacted Representation of the People Act.
- The commission has the powers under the Constitution, to act in an appropriate manner when the enacted laws make insufficient provisions to deal with a given situation in the conduct of an election.
Manpower for conducting elections:
- The EC headquarters is in Delhi essentially monitors the conduct of elections.
- Article 324 of the Constitution provides that the President or the Governor of a state is obliged to provide all “such staff as may be necessary” for the EC to conduct elections, not just in the state concerned, but outside as well.
- The EC and the government jointly decide the staff and paramilitary forces required for conduct of elections through mutual consultation.
Exceptions: There are 10 categories of government officers and employees that are exempted from election duty. These are:
- Senior officers of the Indian Forest Service;
- Doctors and compounders working in veterinary hospitals;
- Grade B officers of veterinary hospitals;
- Medical staff including doctors and nurses;
- Territorial staff of the forest departments;
- All India Radio employees;
- Doordarshan employees,
- Operational/technical staff of UPSC, BSNL and educational institutions;
- Officers/staff of commercial banks located in rural areas which happen to be a single-officer branch;
- A person retiring in six months.
EC’s disciplinary control over the electoral machinery
- Under the Representation of the People Act, all staff deputed to perform election arrangements in their respective states and outside are subject to be under control and discipline of EC from the date elections notified till the results are announced.
- The disciplinary control of the Election Commission of India over the electoral machinery during election period shall extend to:
- Suspending any officer/police personnel for insubordination or dereliction of duty;
- Substituting any officer / official / police personnel by another such person, and returning the substituted individual to the cadre to which he belongs, with appropriate report on his conduct;
- Making recommendation to the competent authority for taking disciplinary action for any act of insubordination or dereliction of duty while on election duty. On this, the disciplinary authority will have to take action, which needs to be communicated to the Election Commission within six months from the date of the EC’s recommendations;
- The Government of India will advise the State governments that they too should follow the above principles and decisions, since a large number of election officials are under their administrative control.