Electoral Reforms In India

Bureaucrats cannot be State Election Commissioners: SC


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Election Commission

Mains level: Autonomy of the State Election Commission

The Supreme Court gas held that independent persons and not bureaucrats should be appointed State Election Commissioners.

No bureaucrats in SEC

  • The judgment came on an appeal against an order of the Bombay High Court which had set aside the election notification issued by the Goa State Election Commission in some municipalities.
  • Justice F. Nariman, in a judgment, said giving government employees the additional charge of State Election Commissioners is a “mockery of the Constitution”.
  • It said government employees holding the post of State Election Commissioners as additional charge should give up the post.
  • The Supreme Court said its direction should be followed strictly.

Why such a move?

  • Under the constitutional mandate, it is the duty of the State to not interfere with the functioning of the State Election Commission.
  • The independence of Election Commissions cannot be compromised at any cost, the Bench said.

State Election Commission

  • Under the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment acts, State Election Commissions were created for every state to conduct elections to panchayats and municipalities.
  • The SECs came into as envisaged in Articles 243K and 243ZA of the Constitution of India.
  • The above Articles provide that the superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the Conduct of all elections to the Panchayats and Municipalities shall vest in the SEC.
  • The Constitution itself has facilitated provision for smooth, free and fair, regular elections to the Local bodies and has, therefore, entrusted the SEC with the responsibility for holding such elections.
  • In the domain of the elections to the local bodies, the SEC functions independently and has the same powers and duties as that of the Election Commission of India.

Try this PYQ:

Q.The Constitution (Seventy-Third Amendment) Act, 1992, which aims at promoting the Panchayati Raj Institutions in the country, provides for which of the following?

  1. Constitution of District Planning Committees.
  2. State Election Commissions to conduct all panchayat elections.
  3. Establishment of State Finance Commissions.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) Only 1

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

The Election Commissioner

  • The State Election Commissioner is appointed by the Governor.
  • It has the status, salary and allowance of a Judge of a High Court and cannot be removed from office except in the like manner and on the like grounds as a Judge of a High Court.
  • The Election Commissioner is also the Chairman of the Delimitation Commission.

Its duties

  • The first and foremost duty of the SEC is to prepare the elector rolls of Panchayats, Municipalities and Municipal Corporation and conduct their elections.

In addition to the above functions, the State Election Commission has also the following functions:

  1. Conduct of elections to the offices of the Mayor/Chairman/President/Deputy Mayor/Vice Chairman/Vice President and the no-confidence motion against them.
  2. Conduct of the Elections to various Standing Committees and their Chairpersons
  3. Determination of disqualification of elected members/Councilors.
  4. Determination of disqualification of elected members on the ground of defection.

Back2Basics: Election Commission of India (ECI)

  • ECI is an autonomous and permanent constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India at the national and state level.
  • The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies, State Legislative Councils and the offices of the President and Vice President of the country.
  • The EC operates under the authority of the Constitution per Article 324 and subsequently enacted the Representation of the People Act.
  • The commission has the powers under the Constitution, to act in an appropriate manner when the enacted laws make insufficient provisions to deal with a given situation in the conduct of an election.
  • Being a constitutional authority, EC is amongst the few institutions which function with both autonomy and freedom, along with the country’s higher judiciary, the UPSC and the CAG.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch