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Free and fair elections play a very significant role in a democratic form of government. The Indian Constitution has made detailed provisions for the free and fair conduct of elections in Part XV between Articles 324 to 329.


The Election Commission consists of a Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners. From 1950 to 1989, the Election Commission was a single member constitutional body.

The Chief Election Commissioner and other Commissioner are appointed by the President of India with the recommendation made by Prime Minister of India.

They are appointed for a term of six years. During this tenure if they attain the age of 65 years, they shall vacate the office on the day of attaining this age.

Powers and Functions of the Election Commission

  1. Delimitation of constituencies
  2. Preparation of voters list and photo identity cards
  3. Registration and recognition of political parties
  4. Alloting election symbols to different political parties and independent candidates
  5. Making all arrangements with respect to holding free and fair elections
  6. Fixing the dates and conducting elections
  7. Appointing Polling Officer
  8. Scrutiny of nominations
  9. Scrutiny of election expenses
  10. The Election Commission also advises the President or the Governor of the State in respect of electoral matters, disqualification of members, election disputes, etc.

The Constitution ensures that the Commission shall act as an independent body.


Types of Elections

  1. General Elections—The first general election on the basis of adult franchise was held in 1952. Simultaneous elections, both for the Lok Sabha and all Legislative Assemblies was known as the general election.
  2. By-election—By-election is held to choose a member of the Lok Sabha or that of State Legislature. It replaces a previous member who has resigned suddenly or died.
  3. Mid-Term Election—The Lok Sabha or the State Assembly may be dissolved before its term is over.

Party System (Differences between National and Regional Party)

National Party

Regional Party

1. It is recognised in four or more states.

1. It is recognised in less than four states.

2. It can form government at the Centre by getting majority of seats, singly or in combination with other parties.

2. It cannot form government at Centre on its own. Only a combination of such parties or by extending support to a national party.

3. It is more concerned with national issues.

3. It is more concerned with regional issues.

4. For example, Congress (I), BJP, CPI (M) and BSP.

4. For example, DMK, AIADMK, Telegu Desam, 
Shiraman Akalidal, National Conference, etc.


Reserved Constituencies The makers of our Constitution thought for a special status. Some constituencies are reserved for people who belong to the scheduled caste (SC), scheduled tribe (ST). For SC, 84 seats are reserved and for ST, 47 (as on 1 September 2012).

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