[dropcap]O[/dropcap]VER a period of six decades several statutes have been enacted to regulate the conduct of elections in India. They are:
Constitution of India
Part XV of The Constitution deals with Elections. Article 324 talks about Superintendence, direction and control of elections to be vested in an Election Commission.
Article 325and 326 provide Universal Adult Suffrage i.e. all citizens (above 18 years of age) have the right to vote without discriminating on grounds of religion, race, caste or sex. This means that if a citizen of India has attained the age of 18years he cannot be barred from voting only because he follows particular religion or belongs to particular caste, race or is of particular gender.
The commission divides the states into constituencies, ie smaller units.
In place of a country, imagine a college with 10,000 students. There is an election for the post of General Secretary. It is difficult to manage 10,000 students at the same time.
Students of same batch are allotted the same room (a constituency) to cast their vote. This way each batch has a room and it becomes a whole lot easier to conduct the elections.
In India, the main basis for allocation of seats to various states in the Lok Sabha is the population of the state.
The Representation of People Act 1950
The Actprovides for the allocation of seats, delimitation of constituencies for the purpose of elections.
It pertains to the elections to Lok Sabha and the state legislatures, the qualifications of voters at such elections, the preparation of electoral rolls, and other matters connected with elections
The Representation of People Act 1951
This Actprovides for the conduct of elections to both Houses of Parliament and to the House or Houses of the Legislature of each State.
It also deals with the qualifications and disqualifications of members of those Houses, corrupt practices and other offences during or in connection with such elections and the decision on disputes arising out of or in connection with such elections.
Difference between The Representation of People Act of 1950 and 1951:
The Representation of People Act, 1950
The Representation of People Act, 1951
It comes into play before the actual conduct of election
It comes into play from the actual conduct of election
It deals with the preparation and revision of electoral rolls
It deals with the conduct of election and post-election disputes
This act is supplementedby the Registration of Electoral Rolls 1960
These ruleswere framed under Section 169of the Representation of People Act, 1951 by the Central Government along with the Election Commission.
It deals with detailed rules for every stage of the conduct of elections. It encompasses the issue of writ notification for conducting elections, filing of nominations, and the scrutiny of the nominations. It also deals with the withdrawal of candidates.
Taking the polls and counting votes are also governed by these rules.
Finally, the constitution of the Houses based on the results are also dealt with under these rules.
Apart from these laws, the Registration of Electoral Rolls 1960, Election Symbol (Reservation & Allotment) Order, 1968 and Indian Penal Code (Section 171 A-171I) are some of the other laws governing various aspects of elections in India.
[This is a three part series. In Part II and Part III, The Leaflet will discuss the role of the Election Commission of India, its members and its powers and the procedure that fixes the territorial limits of constituencies respectively.]