On the Election Commission of India
- The Election Commission is a permanent, independent and Constitutional Body established by the Constitution itself.
- Article 324 deals with ECI
- ECI supervises and conducts elections to
- state legislatures,
- the office of president of India and
- the office of vice-president of India
- The Election Commission shall consist of the chief election commissioner and two more election commissioners.
- They are appointed by the President.
- The chief election commissioner and the two other election commissioners have equal powers and receive equal salary, allowances and other perquisites, which are similar to those of a Supreme Court judge.
- They hold office for a term of six years or until they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
- The chief election commissioner (not the other two ECs) is provided with the security of tenure.
- He cannot be removed from his office except in same manner and on the same grounds as a judge of the Supreme Court.
- In other words, he can be removed by the president on the basis of a resolution passed to that effect by both the Houses of Parliament with special majority, either on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.
- Thus, he does not hold his office till the pleasure of the president, though he is appointed by him.
- Other election commissioners or a regional commissioners cannot be removed from office except on the recommendation of the chief election commissioner.
Though the constitution has sought to safeguard and ensure the independence and impartiality of the Election Commission, some flaws which may threaten the autonomy, impartiality and fair functioning of the ECI in conducting “free and fair elections” which is part of the basic structure of the Constitution and the most important duty of the ECI:
- The Constitution has not prescribed the qualifications (legal, educational, administrative or judicial) of the members of the Election Commission.
- The Constitution has not specified the term of the members of the Election Commission.
- The Constitution has not debarred the retiring election commissioners from any further appointment by the government.