The Election Commission Of India regulates and controls the elections at the state and national levels. It is a constitutional body that is mentioned in Article 324 of the Indian Constitution of India. Its headquarters is in New Delhi. It has several roles and power at the time of elections it acts as a quasi-judicial body also in… Read More »

The Election Commission Of India regulates and controls the elections at the state and national levels. It is a constitutional body that is mentioned in Article 324 of the Indian Constitution of India. Its headquarters is in New Delhi. It has several roles and power at the time of elections it acts as a quasi-judicial body also in the election procedure. I. History Before the independence Election Commission was not present even under the Government of India Act, 1919 or 1935, and election...

The Election Commission Of India regulates and controls the elections at the state and national levels. It is a constitutional body that is mentioned in Article 324 of the Indian Constitution of India. Its headquarters is in New Delhi. It has several roles and power at the time of elections it acts as a quasi-judicial body also in the election procedure.

I. History

Before the independence Election Commission was not present even under the Government of India Act, 1919 or 1935, and election were conducted based on religions. Prior to Independence, the forefathers of our country while making the constitution decided to adopt a free, fair, and competitive election process.[1] It was decided that the election commission will be administering all the elections.

Dr. Rajagopalachari for the advisory committee advised that elections should be kept separate from the fundamental rights. The drafting committee had two options of the constitution of the election commission, first to have a mandated body that will have a fixed number of members and second to have an expedient body that will come into play when elections are going to be conducted.

Committee after considering both the alternatives gone for the concept of half and a half [2] and decided to constitute a single election commission same should be furnished by the President of India which also administers state elections.

D.D Basu writes: “To supervise the entire procedure and machinery for election and some other ancillary matters, the Constitution provides for an independent body, namely, the Election Commission (Article 324)”[3]

Many debates were taken place to whether adopt single or multi election commissions but at the end, it was decided that to maintain the conformity it is important to have a single constitutional body of election commission and the Indian Constitution did not provide much about the management of the political parties in our country, therefore, the management of these parties is in the hands of the election commission which certain contour for its functioning.

The election commission was declared as a constitutional body and established according to article 324 dated 25th January 1950. As per Article 324 commission can have one member or more than one member which is decided by the President. Article 324 states that the Election commission is charged with the Superintendence, direction, and control of the elections of the center, state, vice president, and president. It acts as a self-reliant body in the conducting of the elections.

II. Composition of The Indian Election Commission

Article 324(2) of our Constitution states that the Election commission will be composed of the Chief Election commissioner and additional election Commissioners. In order of rankings, the Chief election commissioner has the highest post with a fixed period of holding its office. The election commissioner will have its staff which will aid him/her in the administration of the election process. It must be noted that the president appoints the election commissioners and also decides the composition.

As per Article 324, (3) Chief Election Commissioner will be designated as a Chairman in the presence of additional Election Commissioners.

Total members


1 Up to 1988
3 1989
1 1990
3 1993-till now

When India constituted its first election commission in 1950 there was a single chief election commissioner who was Sukumar Sen an Indian civil Servant. In 1989 President increased its members by 2 this was happened mainly because of an increase in the workload on the commission as the voting age was reduced from 21 years to 18 years. At the time of Mr. V.P Singh, Election Commission was moulded into its original form i.e Single-member Commission.

In 1993, the President of India added another two members in the Commission, and from there onwards there is not any change in the composition of the commission. Now Hon’ble Commission constituted of Sh. Sunil Arora as Chief Election Commissioner, Sh. Rajiv Kumar and Sh. Sushil Chandra as Election Commissioners. | Check latest on ECI Website

The serving time period of the Election commission is not at the pleasure of the President, it is of 6 years or 65 years of age whichever will be first. Although the president appoints the election commission the president is required to consult from the selection committee and the council of ministers. Elections that are managed by the Election Commission of India are Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Assembly, State Council, Vice President, and presidential elections. Municipal and Panchayat Elections are managed and duly conducted by the State Election Commission.

It must be noted that prerequisite requirements are not specified for the appointment of the Election Commissioner but the trend defines that only Civil servants retired or serving are designated with the post of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners[4].

In S.S. Dhanoa v. Union of India[5], the hon’ble supreme court held that it is not just to concentrate the powers in one hand of the institution like the Election commission as it is an autonomous body which is not accountable to any other authority, therefore, the supreme court of India said that there should be more than one member in this commission to reduce irrationality.

It was also observed that although there are election commissioners but chief election commissioner should be the superior from the all and impeachment of the members of the Election Commission will be the same as of the judge of the Supreme court on the ground of misbehaviour and inability and Election Commissioners can be removed by the president with the consultation of the Chief Election Commissioner. It was also said that the Election Commission is not just an advisory board but a decision-making body also.

According to the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners Act, 1991 after the amendment in 1993 which provides that remuneration of the members of the Election Commission should be equal to the Judge of the Supreme court and if there is a conflict of interest between the members of the Commission then same will be decided among themselves with the majority opinion method.

In T.N Seshan v. Union of India[6], Hon’ble Supreme Court said:

“the recommendation for removal must be based on intelligible and cogent considerations which would have related to the efficient functioning of the Election Commission.”

III. Powers and Functions of the Indian Election Commission

The most noteworthy attribute of the Election Commission is its Powers and Functions. It is the superior most body for the management of the election process of the center, state, president, and vice president. In Mohinder Singh Gill v. Chief Election Commissioner[7], Hon’ble Supreme Court held that the powers of the Election Commission stated in article 324 are “essentially administrative and marginally even judicative or Legislative”.

  • Advisory Jurisdiction & Quasi-Judicial Functions

Election Commission in its advisory jurisdiction can keep a check on the members of the parliament and state legislatures whether or not they are complying with the rules. If any of the members of whether state or center found to be not adhering to the rules and regulations framed for the proper functioning of the government then the Commission may disqualify such a sitting member and such order will be irrevocable by any other authority as a president.

Article 103 and 192 governs such disqualification of the sitting members of the parliament and the state respectively. Therefore election commission also acts as a quasi-judicial body. It must be noted that the decision comes from the president but the same is to be taken by the commission.

  • Administrative Powers

Election Commission ascertains the electoral constituencies around the nation on the basis of the Delimitation Commission Act. Under the Administrative function, the election commission has the responsibility of registering the qualified voters and prepare electoral roll. It also specifies and approved the parties and there symbols through proper inspection of the nomination papers. Election Commission of India also appoints Electoral officers at the state district level which will look after the work at the ground level and ensure the efficient management of the election process.

Article 324(1) states that Election Commission should direct, control and supervise the election in the country this implies the broad dimensions in their powers which are sufficient for the successful completion of the election process. Powers given to the Election Commission in this section are reliant on the laws made by the central government or state government under article 327 and 328 respectively. Election Commission is vested with the power of evaluating its own judgment.[8]

In Digvijay Mote v. Union of India[9], Supreme court held recognized the powers of the election commission of India stated under article 324 and said that if the due to instability in the state Election commission has the power to reschedule or delay the election in that state and such power comes under the judicial review so that it cannot be misused.

Supreme Court in its various judgments mentioned that Election commission’s powers with regard to election process around the country are not absolute as India is a democratic country and in such a nation every public body should have its accountability. However, it may vary in different bodies. In view of this statement the Supreme court provides various postulations with respect to Article 324 which tells about the powers of the Commission:

  • In the absence of the law, the commission has the power to provide with the rules and regulations regarding the same.
  • The election commission is not permitted to countermand the existing law.
  • If such a situation occurs where the law is hush or any uncertain event occurs then the commission has unlimited powers to direct, control, and superintendence.

IV. Conclusion

Unbiased and open elections are regarded as part of the basic structure of the Constitution of India[10]. it is termed as the voice of people to have there shared in forming the government of the country which will manage its affairs efficiently. To conduct such a crucial process of election our Constitution provided an independent body which is called Election Commission of India under Article 324.

In this Article powers, functions, and history of the Election Commission were discussed. Although this authoritative body has many powers and is regarded as the independent body still its autonomy should be restricted to such extent that misuse of its authority can be eliminated in this regard supreme court has also passed many judgments and some of the important judgments of the court are discussed above.

The main objective of the commission is to conduct the elections impartially and legitimately. Election Commission is also responsible for assuring maximum participation of the qualified voters so that the most suitable candidate will be selected which will perform its work honestly for the welfare of the nation.


  1. Constitution of India,1950
  2. Jain M.P, Indian Constitutional Law (Wadhwa and Company Nagpur, 2003 5th edn.)
  3. The Setup, Election Commission of India

[1] P. Rathnaswamy (2004). Electoral Reforms: Law and Institutions of India and World. New Delhi: Bookwell Publishing. p. Executive summary-XV

[2] Constituent Assembly Debates C.A.D., Vol.VIII June 15, 1949. p.905

[3] Basu, D.D. Introduction to the Constitution of India, p.386

[4] S K.Menduratta ( 2006 ). How India Votes- Election Laws, Practice and Procedure. New Delhi: New Model Impex Pvt.Ltd. p.187

[5] AIR 1991 SC 1745

[6] (1995) 4 SCC 611

[7] 1978 AIR 851

[8] Mohd. Yunus Saleem v. Shiv Kumar Shastri AIR 1974 SC 1218

[9] (1993) 4 SCC 175

[10] Indira Nehru Gandhi v. Raj Narain, AIR 1975 SC 2299.

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Updated On 20 Sep 2021 12:42 AM GMT
Aakriti Vikas

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