Elections in India
The Republic of India holds elections which include election for the Parliament, Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Legislative Assembly and numerous bodies and Councils.
According to Indian Constitution elections for the Parliament and State Legislative assembly should be held every five year unless there is a state of emergency. A re-election should be conducted in case of vacancy caused by death or resignation. Election for the one-third of seats of Rajya Sabha is conducted every two years and the members of the upper house are selected by the state legislative assemblies. The members of the state legislative council are selected by the local bodies. The selection of members of the lower house or Lok Sabha is according to the votes of majority of people.
The elections are conducted by the Election Commission of India.The Election Commission of India is an autonomous entity prescribed in the Constitution of India. It is the federal authority responsible for administering all the electoral processes of India and ensuring they are free and fair.
The elected officials are appointed on the federal, state and local levels and are responsible for the functioning and working of the respective area. The Prime Minister is elected by the members of the Lower house of the Parliament. The lower house consists of 543 members, they are elected every five years. According to the constitution the Lok Sabha can have 552 members at maximum. Among the 552 members, 530 represent the states and almost 30 represent the Union Territories. The Rajya Sabha is the upper house of the Parliament which consists of 233 members who are selected for a term of six years. One-third of the total 233 members are retires every two year. The President of India selects the 12 members and the remaining are elected by the legislative assemblies or the Electoral college of Union Territories.
The elections are held with a proper Electoral procedure which ensures the safety of votes and no manipulation of the voters. The candidates first of all file their nomination papers with the Electoral Commission and then the Electoral Commission publishes a list including the names of all the candidates. The government or any party leader is not allowed to use the government resources or bribe any candidate. The elections are held between 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Government officials are hired at every polling centre who are responsible to check and ensure the safety of voters and the votes. Electronic Voting Machines are used in place of ballot papers to prevent fraud or misplacement of the votes. After the entire voting procedure is over the public’s left index finger is marked with an ink which signifies his participation in the voting.
Electronic Voting Machines were first used in the 1999 election and became the only method of voting in 2004. The EVMs save time and report results. A voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) was introduced on 14 August 2013 in Nagaland in the 2014 general elections. On 23 September 2013 The Supreme Court of India also introduced the system of NOTA (None of the above) which stands for the negative votes. This was the result of petitioning from the Electoral Commission and the People's Union for Civil Liberties from 2009.