What are the Different Measures Taken to Ensure Free and Fair Elections in India?
For the successful working of democracy in the country, it is necessary that the elections must be free and fair. Voters should be able to cast their votes freely without any fear and according to their own choice.
There should be no coercion or allurement to make them vote for a particular candidate or party. Rigging in the elections should be strictly checked. Use of money and muscle power should not win the election. Only the candidates who have popular support should win the election.
Following are the different measures taken to ensure free and fair elections in India:
(a) Election commission:
To make sure that elections are free and fair, the Constitution of India provides for an Election Commission. It consists of a Chief Election Commissioner and some other members (at present, there are two other members). This Commission has been given the responsibility to conduct free and fair elections in the country.
(b) Preparation and revision of electoral rolls:
For the conduct of elections, electoral rolls are prepared for each constituency of State Legislative Assembly and Lok Sabha. To ensure that no voter is left out, electoral rolls are revised before each election.
(c) Control of election commission over the election staff:
The Election Commission exercises control over all the functionaries connected with the conduct of election.
(d) Expenditure on elections:
To minimise the role of money in the elections a maximum limit of poll expenditure is fixed by law and every candidate is to spend within that limit on his election campaign. At present, it is rupees 25 lakh for a Parliamentary constituency and 10 lakhs for an Assembly constituency within five days of the declaration of result, each candidate is bound to submit the report of his expenditure to the Election Commission. In case, a candidate has spent more money then the maximum limit fixed, his election is declared null and void.
(e) Check on the misuse of official machinery:
Steps have been taken to check the misuse of official machinery during elections by the members of the ruling party.
(f) Identity cards for voters:
To check bogus voting and impersonation identity cards have been issued to the voters.
(g) Election petition:
After the election, if any candidate or a voter feels that irregularities have taken place or corrupt practices have been adopted in the election, he can file petition in a court of law. If the charges are proved in the court the election of that candidate is set aside and fresh election is held in that constituency.