The Election Commission is a permanent and autonomous constitutional body. It is responsible for administering free and fair election processes at the national and state level in India.
While the Election Commission is a pan India body which is common to the central and the state governments, it does not handle elections at the municipality or panchayat level in a state. Hence, a separate State Election Commission is provided by the Constitution of India for conducting these elections. The Election Commission is responsible for conducting elections for the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, state Legislative Assemblies, state Legislative Councils, and the offices of the President and Vice President.
The Election Commission operates under Article 324 of the Indian Constitution and subsequently, the Representation of People Act. It is headed by the Chief Election Commissioner who enjoys the security of tenure. The Commissioner can only be removed by the President of India through the passing of a resolution on account of proven misbehavior or incapacity. Such a resolution has to be supported by a majority in both houses of Parliament for it to be passed.
The Constitution of India tried to ensure the independent and impartial nature of the Election Commission is always upheld, but certain flaws in the creation of the commission still persist. These are:
- There are no specific qualifications (legal, educational, administrative, or judicial) defined by the Constitution for the members of the Election Commission.
- No fixed terms have been defined by the Constitution for members of the Election Commission.
- The retiring Election Commissioners have not forbidden by the Constitution further appointment to other offices by the government