Why Election Today
Elections in India include elections for the Parliament comprising Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, the Legislative Assemblies, Legislative Councils and Local Bodies. According to Constitution of India, Elections for the Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies should take place every 5 years. Any vacancy caused by death or resignation must be filled through an election within six months of the occurrence of such vacancies. Elections to one third of the seats of the upper house of the Parliament, the Rajya Sabha are conducted from time to time. Thus, in India, Elections keep happening round the year.
All the election at the Central and State level are conducted by the Election Commission of India, while local bodies elections are conducted by State Election Commissions. The Election Commission of India is an autonomous Constitutional body. It is a Constitutional authority responsible for administering all the electoral processes of India and ensuring that they are free and fair.
Elections are conducted in India according to Constitutional provisions, Statutory Acts and Laws and according to various laws of the land. These include:
- Representation of the People Act, 1950
- Representation of the People Act, 1951
- The Conduct of Election Rules, 1961
- The Registration of Electors Rules, 1960
- Indian Penal Code
- Election symbols (reservation & allotment) Order 1968
- Judicial decisions of Supreme Court & High Courts
The Supreme Court of India has held that where the enacted laws are silent or make insufficient provision to deal with a given situation in the conduct of elections, the Election Commission has the residuary powers under the Constitution to act in an appropriate manner. Election Commission issues instructions from time to time with regard to maintenance of Electoral Rolls, Electoral Process and Electoral Management. Over past 68 years, Election Commission of India has issued a large number of instructions which are binding on all stakeholders. Elections in India is therefore an elaborate process with statutory election laws, election rules and instructions of Election Commission of India.
The advent of Electronic Voting Machines has brought about series of new laws, instructions and procedures. The incoming of VVPAT machines has further added new set of instructions and procedures in the election system. The recent Supreme Court judgements with regard to NOTA, filing of affidavits by candidates, new instruction on “freebies” and new directions for filing of nomination papers have made the election system more elaborate.
In India elections are contested by political parties. Presently there are 7 national recognized parties and 49 recognized state parties. There are also many unrecognized political parties. It is noteworthy that majority of statutory laws, rules and instructions of Election Commission are meant for compliance by political parties and the candidates including independent candidates. However, it has been observed that most of the time the political parties and their office bearers at National, State or District level are not well versed and familiar with all the relevant laws, rules and instructions governing election system in India. The candidates, both before and after their candidature is decided, are many times not aware of latest laws, rules and ECI instructions. The fall out of such ignorance is that bonafide errors are committed by political parties and candidates during election process due to which they not only suffer losses in the electoral battle but are also penalised by Election Commission of India or Competent Courts. A comment or reprimand from ECI or any Court, on such errors, tarnish the image of political parties & candidates before voters.
During long tenure in Election Commission of India, team Election Today has observed that while there is well laid system for training and capacity building of the officials of State election machinery at all levels before and during the election process, there is no organization or platform available to political parties and candidates for capacity building, training and updating them with latest laws, rules and instructions governing elections in India. Although, Election Commission of India does release and publish the laws, rules and instructions on their websites or sometimes for political parties and candidates however, there is no existing mechanism to update the knowledge of laws, rules and instructions of political parties and candidates.
Election Today is an establishment offering this mechanism and a platform in non Government and non political area. Election Today would act as a knowledge partner of political parties and candidates. Election Today would also be available to provide them “actual services” in certain areas of election process like filing of nomination papers, filing of election expenditures, dealing with violation of Model Code of Conduct, Election Offences and filing of election petitions. Election Today has been conceived to fill the void which exists today in providing regular knowledge and information about election process. Election Today will provide Counselling, Consultancy and Advisory Services for almost all aspects of election process to political parties and candidates.