Under the Constitution provision is made for an Election Commission which is entrusted to deal with the following matters :-
(a) Election of the President of India;
(b) Election of the Vice-President of India;
(c) The Union Parliament and the composition of its two Chambers;
(d) Qualifications of members of Parliament;
(e) Composition of State Legislatures;
(f) Qualifications of members of State Legislatures;
(g)Duration of Parliament and the State Legislatures;
(h) Elections – to Parliament and State Legislatures;
(i) Reservation of seats in the House of the People and the State Assemblies for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes; and
(j) The determination of population for purposes of election.
Under Article 327, Parliament is vested with the supreme power to legislate on all matters relating to elections, including elections to State Legislatures. Under Article 328, the States have also been jested with certain limited powers of legislation with respect to elections. But such legislation should lot be in conflict with any Parliamentary legislation in this matter.
Article 329 seeks to bar the interference by Courts in electoral matters including.
(a) The validity of any law relating to delimitation of constituencies or the allotment of seats under Articles 32 or 328; and
(b) Election to either House of Parliament or a State Legislature. Elections can be questioned only by an election petition submitted to such authority and in such manner as may be provided by law by the concerned legislature. The power to decide election disputes at present vests in the High Courts with a right to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Disputes regarding the election of the President of India or the Vice- President are to be settled only by the Supreme Court.
Parliament passed two major measures laying down the detailed law under which elections are to be held. The first was the Representation of the People Act, 1950, which provided for qualifications of voters and matters connected with the preparation of electoral rolls.
It also laid down the procedure for delimitation of constituencies, and allocated the number of seats in Parliament to the States and fixed the number of seats in the respective State Legislatures.
The second, viz., the Representational the People Act, 1951, provided for the actual conduct of elections and dealt in detail with subjects like administrative machinery for conducting elections, the poll, election disputes, by-elections, etc.
Under these two Acts, statutory rules were made by the Central Government and these were respectively called the Representation of the People (Preparation of Electoral Rolls) Rules, 1950 and the Representation of the People (Conduct of Elections and Election Petitions) Rules, 1951. Subsequently the two Acts and the Rules were amended as and when changes became necessary.
One of the most important of these amendments is with regard to the preparation of the electoral rolls. Originally it was provided that separate rolls should be prepared for the Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies.
The amendment has prevented a considerable amount of duplication of work by laying down that only one electoral roll need be prepared for all constituencies.
It is within this framework of law that the eleven General Elections have been held. The law seems to have come, as the occasion arose. Now it is high time that this mass of election law scattered over too many legislative enactments is codified into a simple comprehensive legislation on the subject.