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Centre ‘appropriate’ party to respond to plea on disqualified lawmakers, says EC

  • Published
    4th Apr, 2023
Context

The Election commission said it would be “appropriate” to have the Union government deal with the disqualification issue.

About the news
  • The Election Commission in the Supreme Court has chosen to maintain a distance on the question whether a disqualified lawmaker should be banned from contesting elections for five years.
  • The commission said it would be “appropriate” to have the Union government deal with the issue.
  • Election commission stated that the issue involved in this matter pertains to the interpretation of Article 191(1)(e) of the Constitution.
  • It relates to matters that do not have a nexus with the conduct of elections in terms of the remit of the Commission under Article 324.
  • Therefore Union government is the appropriate party for the adjudication of the prayers made in the petition

About Election Commission

  • The Election Commission is a body established under Article 324 of the Constitution.
  • It is vested with the authority of superintendence, direction, and control of elections for the conduct of elections to Parliament, State Legislatures and the offices of the President and the Vice-President.
  • Constitutional Provisions:
    • Part XV (Article 324-329) of the Indian Constitution: It deals with elections and establishes a commission for these matters.
    • Article 324: Superintendence, direction and control of elections to be vested in an Election Commission.
    • Article 325: No person to be ineligible for inclusion in, or to claim to be included in a special, electoral roll-on grounds of religion, race, caste or sex.
    • Article 326: Elections to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assemblies of States to be based on adult suffrage.
    • Article 327: Power of Parliament to make provision with respect to elections to Legislatures.
    • Article 328: Power of Legislature of a State to make provision with respect to elections to such Legislature.
    • Article 329: Bar to interference by courts in electoral matters.

Powers of EC for disqualification

  • Under the Constitution, the Commission has advisory jurisdictionin the matter of post-election disqualification of sitting members of Parliament and State Legislatures.
  • The opinion of the Commission in all such matters is binding on the President or, as the case may be, the Governor to whom such opinion is tendered.
  • Further, the cases of persons found guilty of corrupt practices at elections which come before the SC and High Courts are also referred to the Commission for its opinionon the question as to whether such person shall be disqualified and, if so, for what period.
  • The Commission has the power to disqualify a candidate who has failed to lodge an account of his election expenses within the time and in the manner prescribed by law.

Other powers of EC

  • To determine the territorial areas of the electoral constituencies throughout the country on the basis of the Delimitation Commission Act of Parliament.
  • To prepare and periodically revise electoral rolls and to register all eligible voters.
  • To grant recognition to political parties and allot election symbols to them.
  • Election Commission ensures a level playing field for the political parties in election fray, through strict observance by them of a Model Code of Conduct evolved with the consensus of political parties.
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