India is the largest in the comity of world democracies where over 500 million people have the right to choose their government through the ballot box. One of the basic postulates of democracy is a free and fair election. Here’s a simple list of the minimum conditions of a democratic election:
- First, everyone should be able to choose. This means that everyone should have one vote and every vote should have equal value.
- Second, there should be something to choose from. Parties and candidates should be free to
contest elections and should offer some real choice to the voters.
- Third, the choice should be offered at regular intervals. Elections must be held regularly after every few years.
- Fourth, the candidate preferred by the people should get elected.
- Fifth, elections should be conducted in a free and fair manner where people can choose
as they really wish.
In this article, we will be discussing a few terms from the chapter Electoral politics NCERT Class 9, that are crucial for every citizen of a country to under.
The vast majority of contemporary constitutions describe the basic principles of the state, the structures and processes of government and the fundamental rights of citizens in a higher law that cannot be unilaterally changed by an ordinary legislative act. This higher law is usually referred to as a constitution. Any broadly accepted working definition of a constitution would likely describe it
as a set of fundamental legal-political rules that:
1. are binding on everyone in the state, including ordinary law-making institutions;
2. concern the structure and operation of the institutions of government, political principles and the rights of citizens;
3. are based on widespread public legitimacy;
4. are harder to change than ordinary laws (e.g. a two-thirds majority vote or a referendum is needed); and
5. as a minimum, meet the internationally recognized criteria for a the democratic system in terms of representation and human rights.
Source: International IDEA Constitution-Building Primer
The Election Commission of India is an autonomous, quasi-judiciary constitutional body of India. Its mission is to conduct free and fair elections in India. It was established on 25 January 1950 under Article 324 of the Constitution of India. The commission presently consists of a Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners, appointed by the president.
Functions of Election commission
The Superintendence, Direction, and Control of
- Election Preparation of Electoral Rolls
- To declare the date of Election
- To recognize and derecognize Political Parties
- To prepare a code of conduct for Political Parties
- Control over the staff connected with Election
- To conduct Election
- To establish Polling Stations
- Safety of Ballot Boxes and Counting
- To declare ineligible for contesting Election
- To order Re-poll
- To issue Direction
Electronic Voting Machine
The Commission has taken the pioneering initiative of introducing Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) for recording, storing and counting of votes across the length and breadth of the Country in a transparent, credible and secure manner, backed by appropriate legal support. The use of EVM demonstrates the Commission’s unflinching resolve to continually improve, upgrade and strengthen the Electoral Process in the country.
Since the very inception of the EVMs in 1982, as a positive electoral reform on the electoral scene in India blames and aspersions have been cast on the EVMs from various quarters including political. It needs to be emphasized that the wide range of technical security, administrative protocols and procedural safeguards mandated by the Commission robustly ensures the integrity, non-tamperability, and credibility of the EVMs. The stringent procedures and well-defined poll processes prescribed by the Commission protect the EVMs against any sort of manipulation.
The main purpose of election is to give people a chance to choose the representatives, the government and the policies they prefer. Therefore it is necessary to have a free and open
discussion about who is a better representative, which party will make a better government or what
is a good policy. This is what happens during election campaigns.
In our country, such campaigns take place for a two-week period between the announcement of the
final list of candidates and the date of polling. During this period the candidates contact their voters, political leaders address election meetings and political parties mobilise their supporters. This is also the period when newspapers and television news are full of election-related stories and debates. But an election campaign is not limited to these two weeks only. Political parties start preparing for elections months before they actually take place.