Election Commission of India

Constitutional body

The constitution of India has entrusted the Election Commission of India  to  superintendence, analysis and control  the entire process of conducting the elections of the Parliament and the Legislature of each State and the posts of the President and Vice-President of India. The Election Commission of India is a permanent constitutional body. According to the constitution, the Election Commission was established on 25th January 1950. The Indian Election Commission is an autonomous and semi-judicial institution.  Initially, there were only one Chief Election Commissioner in the Commission. Currently the commission has  a Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners. For the first time on October 16, 1989 two additional commissioners were appointed, but their tenure was very low, which lasted till January 01, 1990.

Multi-member concept

Thereafter, two additional election commissioners were appointed on 01 October 1993. Since then, the multi-member concept of the Commission is in vogue, in which the decision is taken on a majority basis. Indian Election Commission is an autonomous and semi-judicial institution.

Chief Election Commissioner

Chief Election Commissioner of India is the head of the Election Commission of India.  He is responsible for conducting  independent and fair election.

Appointment, term, salary and removal

The President of India appoints the Chief Election Commissioner. The term of the Chief Election Commissioner is of 6 years or  65 years, whichever is earlier. Salary of the Election Commissioner is similar to the Judge of the Supreme Court of India. The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed only by the Parliament through impeachment.

Secretariat

The Commission has a separate secretariat in New Delhi, in which about 300 officers / employees.

Budget and expenditure

The Commission Secretariat has its own independent budget which is finalized by the advice of the Ministry of Finance.  The Ministry of Finance generally accepts its recommendations for the budget of the Commission. However, the main expenditure on the actual operation of the elections, related constituencies of Union Territories and Union Territory Areas are reflected in the budget of the units. If elections are made only for the Lok Sabha, the expenditure is borne by the Union Government as a whole, whereas only the State Expenditure is to be borne by the concerned State for elections. In the event of the election of Parliamentary and State Legislative Assembly, the expenditure is shared equally between the Center and the State Government. Expenditure on preparation of capital equipment, expenditure on electoral rolls and expenditure on identification of election candidates is also shared equally.

State Election

Superintendence of election work at the state level is subjected to the overall supervision, analysis and control of the Commission by the Chief Election Officer of the State. The appointment of these Chief Electoral Officers is done by the Commission from  amongst senior officers of the seniority proposed by the concerned State Government. In most of the states, he is a full time officer and he has a team of assistant staff.

At district and constituency levels, there are District Election Officers, Electoral Registration Officers and Returning Officers, who are assisted by a large number of junior Officers and they perform Election work.

List of Chief Election Commissioners of India

  1. Sukumar Sen: March 21, 1950 – December 19, 1958
  2. K V.K. Sundaram: 20 December 1958 – 30 September 1967
  3. S. P. Sen Verma: 1 October 1967 – 30 September 1972
  4. Dr. Nagendra Singh: 1 October 1972 – 6 February 1973
  5. T. Swaminathan: February 7, 1973 – June 17, 1977
  6. S. L. Shakheda: June 18, 1977 – June 17, 1982
  7. R. Of Trivedi: June 18, 1982 – December 31, 1985
  8. R. V S Shastri: 1 January 1986 – 25 November 1990
  9. V. S. Ramdev: November 26, 1990 – December 11, 1990
  10. T. N. Seshan: December 12, 1990 – December 11, 1996
  11. M.S. Gill: December 12, 1996 – June 13, 2001
  12. J. M. Lyngdoh: 14 June 2001 – 7 February 2004
  13. T. S. Krishnamurthy: February 8, 2004 – May 15, 2005
  14. B. B Tandon: May 16, 2005 – June 28, 2006
  15. N. Gopalaswamy: 29 June 2006 – 20 April 2009
  16. New Chawla: 21 April 2009 – 29 July 2010
  17. Shahbuddin Yakub Qureshi: 30 July 2010 – 10 June 2012
  18. V.S. Property: June 11, 2012 – January 15, 2015
  19. H. S. Brahma: January 16, 2015 – April 18, 2015 [5]
  20. Naseem Zaidi: April 19, 2015 – 5 July 2017
  21. Akal Kumar Jyoti 6th July 2017 – present