NIOS Class 10 Social Studies Chapter 22 People՚s Participation in the Democratic Process Part 2 (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Electoral System in India

Election Commission of India

  • The task of conducting free, fair and impartial elections is entrusted to an impartial constitutional authority which is known as the Election Commission.
  • The Election Commission consists of a Chief Election Commissioner and the number of Election Commissioners as the President may fix in accordance with the law The Election Commission consists a Chief Election Commissioner and the number of Election Commissioners as the President may fix in accordance with the law.
  • At present, the Election Commission of India consists of a Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.
  • They have tenure of six years or up to the age of 65.
  • The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed only by impeachment, through a procedure as applicable in the case of a Judge of the Supreme Court.

Functions

  • Ensure free and fair elections in the country;
  • Supervise, direct and control the entire election machinery; preparation of electoral roll;
  • Provide recognition to political parties and register them as national and state parties;
  • Allotment of symbols to political parties and the numerous independent candidates contesting the elections;
  • Issuing guidelines and code of conduct for the election officials, candidates, and for the political parties during the elections;
  • Redressal of election complaints received from the voters, the candidates and the political parties.
  • Appointment of electoral officials; and 8. advising the President on matters relating to elections.

Election Officials

  • The Election Commission is assisted by a number of officials.
  • At the state level- Chief Electoral Officer of the State.
  • It is appointed by the Election Commission from amongst senior civil servants proposed by the concerned State government.

Returning Officer

An Officer can be nominated as Returning Officer for more than one constituency.

He/She is the official who

  • receives and scrutinizes the nomination papers of the candidates contesting elections,
  • allots election symbols on behalf of the Election Commission,
  • conducts smooth elections in the constituency (IES) ,
  • ensures counting of votes, and
  • declares the election results

Presiding Officers

He/She supervises the entire process in the polling booth and ensures that every voter gets an opportunity to cast vote freely and that there is no impersonation

Polling Officer

Every Presiding Officer is assisted by three or four officials who are called the Polling Officers.

The Electoral Process in India

  • Stages of the electoral process:
  • Delimitation of constituencies
  • Preparation and revision of the electoral roll
  • The election schedule is announced indicating the dates for filing the nomination papers
  • Allotment of election symbols
  • The time given for election campaigns
  • Countermanding of election
  • The election disputes if any are probed by the judiciary

Polling and After

  • On the day of the polling, the voters go to their respective polling booths, and wait in a queue, for their turn.
  • On entering the polling room, the voter discloses his/her identity to the first polling officer.
  • A Polling officer puts indelible ink.
  • The voter is given a ballot paper or is shown the electronic voting machine (EVM) containing the names of the candidates along with their respective election symbols
  • The votes are counted and the candidate who obtains the largest number of votes is declared elected.

Universal Adult Franchise

  • The concept of the Universal Adult Franchise is based on the principle of political equality: one person, one vote; none has more than one vote.
  • It helps ensure the liberty of the people and helps secure the protection of rights.
  • The Universal adult franchise became a part of the electoral process right from the beginning of our establishment as a democracy.
  • The minimum age required for voting differs from country to country.
  • In most countries of our times, the voting age is 18 years, as in India, China, United States of America, Great Britain and Russia

Electoral Reforms

  • The electoral reforms have been engaging the attention of the Parliament, the Government, the Election Commission, the Press and the people for a long time.
  • There are issues like
    • rigging of the elections - fake and bogus voting, impersonation,
    • violence during elections,
    • adverse role of money and muscle power,
    • intimidation of voters especially the people of weaker sections,
    • misuse of governmental machinery,
    • booth capturing and criminalization in both elections and politics, that demand immediate attention

Suggested Electoral Reforms

  • The democratization of the electoral system be made from time to time so as to keep the electoral system in pace with changing times;
  • Change from the on-going system (plurality system) to some form of proportional representation system to be introduced to reduce the votes-seats imbalance (see box below) ;
  • State funding of elections to be introduced so as to reduce and curb election expenses;
  • The role of money and muscle power to be curbed during the elections;
  • Criminalization of politics to be stopped in the elections;
  • Candidates with any criminal record to be barred from contesting elections; and
  • Complete ban to be imposed on the use of caste and religious appeal in election campaigns.

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