Constitutional bodies

The constitutional bodies are those bodies mentioned in the constitution to run the government properly, which means every constitutional body will have their own respective articles. On the other hand, some other constitutional bodies established by the government after passing act in the parliament are termed as Non-constitutional bodies. The constitutional bodies are as follows:

  1. Election Commission:
  • Election Commission is a permanent and an independent body established by the Constitution of India directly to ensure free and fair elections in the country.
  • Article 324 of the Constitution provides that the power of superintendence, direction and control of elections to parliament,state legislatures, the office of president of India and the office of vice-president of India shall be vested in the election commission.
  • The election commission is not concerned with the elections to panchayats and municipalities in the states. For this, the Constitution of India provides for a separate State Election Commission.

Composition:

  1. The Election Commission shall consist of the chief election commissioner and such number of other election commissioners, if any, as the president may from time to time fix.
  2. The appointment of the chief election commissioner and other election commissioners shall be made by the president.
  3. When any other election commissioner is so appointed, the chief election commissioner shall act as the chairman of the election Commission.
  4. The president may also appoint after consultation with the election commission such regional commissioners as he may consider necessary to assist the election commission.
  5. The conditions of service and tenure of office of the election commissioners and the regional commissioners shall be determined by the president.

Till today, the election commission has been functioning as a multi member body consisting of three election commissioners.The chief election commissioner and the two other election commissioners have equal powers and receive equal salary, allowances, which are similar to those of ajudge of the Supreme Court.In case of difference of opinion amongst the Chief Election Commissioner and/or two other election commissioners, the matter is decided by the Commission, by majority.

They hold office for a term of six years or until they attain the

age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. They can resign at any time or can also be removed before the expiry of their term.

Independence:

  1. The chief election commissioner 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 misbehavior or incapacity. Thus, he does not hold his office till the pleasure of the president, though he is appointed by him.

  1. The service conditions of the chief election commissioner cannot be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.
  2. Any other election commissioner or a regional commissioner cannot be removed from office except on the recommendation of chief election Commissioners.
  3. The Constitution has not prescribed the qualifications (legal, educational, administrative or judicial) of the members of the election commission.
  4. The Constitution has not debarred the retiring election commissioners from any further appointment by the government.

Powers & Functions:

  1. To determine the territorial areas of the electoral constituencies throughout the country on the basis of the Delimitation Commission Act of Parliament.
  2. To prepare and periodically revise electoral rolls and to register all eligible voters.
  3. To grant recognition to political parties & allot election symbols for them.
  4. To advise the president on matters relating to the disqualifications of the members of Parliament.
  5. To advise the governor on matters relating to the disqualifications of the members of state legislature.
  6. To cancel polls in the event of rigging, booth capturing,violence and other irregularities.
  7. To advise the president whether elections can be held in a state under president’s rule in order to extend the period of emergency after one year.

At the state level, the Election Commission is assisted by the chief electoral officer who is appointed by the chief election commissioner in consultation with the state government. Below this, at the district level, the collector acts as the district returning officer. He appoints a returning officer for every constituency in the district and presiding officer for every polling booth in the constituency.

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