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Current Affairs

Supreme court issues notice to Election commission on election discrepancies

Date: 14 December 2019 Tags: Constitution

Issue

The Supreme Court has asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to respond to a petition filed by two NGOs seeking a probe into alleged discrepancies between voter turnout and the number of votes counted in 347 constituencies in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

 

Background

The petition said a study was done by them on the discrepancy patterns found in the ECI website and the ‘My Voters Turnout App’. The petition said, there were six seats where the discrepancy in votes was higher than the winning margin. 

 

Details

  • The ECI has a statutory duty to collate and publish accurate data relating to the elections held by it.

  • It has statutory duty to explain satisfactorily the resolution process, along with the methodology adopted for resolution of the discrepancies recorded during the course of election based on actual figures recorded in the statutory forms at each polling stations.

Election Commision of India

  • The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India at national, state and district level.

  • The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, state Legislative Assemblies, state legislative Councils, and the offices of the President and Vice President of the country.

  • The Election Commission operates under the authority of Constitution per Article 324, and subsequently enacted Representation of the People Act.

  • Being a constitutional authority, Election Commission is amongst the few institutions which function with both autonomy and freedom.

 

Appointment and Removal

  • The President has the power to select Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.

  • They have tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

  • The Chief Election Commissioner of India can be removed from office as can be a judge of the Supreme Court of India: a two-thirds majority resolution passed by the Parliament of India (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) outlining the grounds of misbehavior or incapacity.

  • Other Election Commissioners can be removed by the President of India on the advice of the Chief Election Commissioner.

Functions

Key functions of the Election Commission of India are as under:

 

  • The Election Commission of India is considered the guardian of free and reasonable elections.

  • It issues the Model Code of Conduct in every election for political parties and candidates so that the decorum of democracy is maintained.

  • It regulates political parties and registers them for being eligible to contest elections.

  • It publishes the allowed limits of campaign expenditure per candidate to all the political parties, and also monitors the same.

  • The political parties must submit their annual reports to the ECI for getting tax benefit on contributions.

  • It guarantees that all the political parties regularly submit their audited financial reports.

  • The Commission can repress the results of opinion polls if it deems such an action fit for the cause of democracy.

  • The Commission can recommend for disqualification of members after the elections if it thinks they have violated certain guidelines.

  • In case, a candidate is found guilty of dishonest practices during the elections, the Supreme Court and High Courts consult the Commission.

  • The Commission can postpone candidates who fail to submit their election expense accounts timely.