What are election laws & how are elections held in India?

23 Feb 2022  Read 8623 Views

India holds the world's largest election with over 96 Crore voters that's more than the population of all European countries combined!

Through elections, we elect members of Parliament, State Legislatures and local bodies to ensure that the best representatives are elected for the healthy governance of our country. That is why it is important that the procedures for conducting government elections be must be fair and free.

So, which laws make election procedure fair and just for both voters and political parties? You will know all about election laws in this blog.

Need of Elections in India

  1. Elections make sure that a government doesn't stay in power forever and become too powerful.

  2. It compels political workers to work for the welfare of the people.

  3. Voting in elections is a strong way of indirect democracy because it gets people to choose their representatives, who then make laws for them.

  4. Elections motivate people to get involved in their country's matters and stay active and aware of politics.

Structure of Government in India

In India, the government is based on the British Westminster system of Parliament, which is deliberated hereunder:

  • An elected President

  • An elected vice-President

  • Elected Parliament

  • Elected State Legislatures

For small towns and rural areas:

  • Elected municipalities

  • Panchayats

  • Other local bodies.

Now, let's have a look at the Constitutional Provisions:

Articles 324 to 329 of the Indian Constitution deal with the elections in India. Functionaries in connection with the conduct and supervision of free, fair and peaceful elections to the House of the People and the legislative assemblies of the States are required to adopt a realistic, practical and flexible approach to ensure that India is governed by its true democratic perspective.

Article 324 looks after the elections to the Parliament, state legislatures and the offices of the President and the Vice President. We are talking about the Election Commission of India (ECI), which operates under this article enacted under the Representation of the People Act which is an autonomous constitutional body responsible for administering election processes in India at the national, state and district levels.

The ECI looks after the elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, state Legislative Assemblies, state legislative Councils, and the offices of the President and Vice President.

Election Procedure in India

Election Process in India

Types of Election

In India, elections are held for various positions, such as:

  • Members of Parliament in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha
  • Members of State Legislative Councils
  • Members of State Legislative Assemblies
  • Members of local governance bodies
  • By-elections occur when the representative of a constituency passes away, resigns, or is disqualified.

Rajya Sabha Elections

Indirect Election: The Rajya Sabha uses an indirect election system, where State governments choose members based on the available seats. 

No. of seats: The allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha is based on the population proportion of each state. Ex- UP has the highest no. of seats in the Rajya Sabha because it has the largest population, whereas states like Nagaland and Mizoram, with lower populations, have only one seat each.

Term: Unlike the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha cannot be dissolved, and its members serve for six years. Every two years, one-third of the members, whose six-year term is complete, are elected to ensure continuity in the Rajya Sabha.

Lok Sabha Elections

Direct/General Election: The citizen of 18+ of age can vote to elect members of the Lok Sabha. These candidates compete in their respective constituencies, and all adult citizens can vote in their own constituencies.

Seats: The Lok Sabha has 543 members, and 131 seats (24.03%) are reserved- for representatives of Scheduled Castes (84 seats) and Scheduled Tribes (47 seats).

Term: A candidate who wins an election holds their seat for five years and is known as a ‘Member of Parliament’ (MP). Elections for the Lok Sabha occur once every five years.

Vidhan Sabha Elections

State Assembly Election: Candidates who win State Legislative Assembly elections are known as 'Members of the Legislative Assembly' (MLAs). 

Seats: The assembly can have a maximum of 500 members and a minimum of 60 members. 

Term: Once elected, an MLA serves for five years.

Legislations relating to the Election Laws

  • Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act 1952

The Act was enacted for the election to the offices of President and Vice-President of India.

  • Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Rules 1974

This is basically a supplementary set of rules to the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act 1952.

  • Representation of the People Act 1950

This Act governs the conduct of elections to State Legislatures and to Parliament, which is concerned with the preparation of electoral rolls and their revisions.

  • The Registration of Electors Rules 1960

Under Section 28 of the Act, these rules were made by the Centre along with the Election Commission and supplement the provisions of this act with detailed rules. All rules relating to the preparation of electoral rolls etc.  

  • Representation of the People Act 1951

Importantly, this Act governs the actual conduct of elections to State Legislatures and to Parliament. All post-election matters that comprise of doubts and disputes with regard to the elections or are in connection with the elections will be dealt according to the provisions of this Act. 

  • Conduct of Elections Rules 1961

These rules were framed by the Centre and the Election Commission. It deals with detailed rules for every stage of the conduct of elections. It deliberates the issue of the writ notification for conducting elections, filing of nominations, and the scrutiny of the nominations. 

  • Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order 1968

This order concerns the reservation matters of election symbols for political parties at National and State levels. Election symbols serve as public recognition of the party and even assist in resolving disputes between splinter groups.

Conclusion

In summary, India's big elections are really important for our democracy. The rules that guide these elections make sure they're fair for everyone, including voters and political parties. By knowing these election laws, citizens can actively participate in the democratic process and contribute to improving our nation's governance.

About the Author: Kakoli Nath | 275 Post(s)

She is a Legal Content Manager at Finology Legal! With a Masters in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), a BBA.LL.B from ITM University, and patent analyst training from IIPTA, she truly specializes in her field. Her passion for IPR and Criminal laws is evident from her advanced certification in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Profiling from IFS, Pune.

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