Long Questions With Answers - Election And Representation Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

Political Science Class 11

Humanities/Arts : Long Questions With Answers - Election And Representation Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

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Q. 1. What do you know of the Direct and Indirect Election system? Also explain their merits and demerits.
Ans.
In democracy, the people elect their representatives and the representatives carry out the wishes of the people. Nowadays almost all the countries have adopted the system of Adult Franchise. There are two ways of electing representatives — Direct Election and Indirect Election.
Direct Election. In the system of Direct election, the voters directly participate in election and elect their representatives. The process of direct election is quite simple. Every voter goes to the polling station and records his vote either in favour or against particular candidates. A candidate securing the maximum number of votes is declared elected. This system of election is the most popular and is followed in all democratic countries for electing members of People’s Chamber. All members of the State assemblies and House of People in India are elected directly. Every adult in India exercises the right to vote.
Merits. 
(1) Firstly, direct election is consistent with the principle of democracy. People have direct share in the choice of their representatives and in determining the public policy.
(2) Secondly, the system makes the citizens active and alert. Each voter feels that his voice will count in the formation of government and the selection of law-makers. A direct contact between the electors and the representatives stimulates interest in public affairs and develops a sense of public spirit. The system makes people conscious of the rights and duties and is fully in keeping with the democratic principles.
(3) Thirdly, the representative elected under this system feels responsible to the people and tries to keep himself in touch with them and improve their conditions.
(4) Fourthly, direct election means election campaigns and intensive political propaganda for and against different candidates. Many citizens, therefore, who would have proved the best administrators, avoid to contest elections. This means a great national loss.
Demerits. 
(1) Firstly, direct election means political excitement which leads to the election of undesirable candidates. The voters are easily carried away or misled by clever orators. They are swept off their feet by popular passion.
(2) Secondly, direct election increases the election expenditure which entails a heavy burden on the public purse.
(3) Thirdly, direct election places the final choice of the representatives in the hands of the masses and most of them do not have enough of intelligence or independence to vote for the right type of candidates.
(4) Fourthly, direct election means election campaigns and intensive political propaganda for and against different candidates. Many citizens, therefore, who would have proved the best administrators, avoid to contest elections. This means a great national loss.
Indirect Election. Indirect election means that the voters do not directly participate in the election of their representatives but choose only an intermediary body which elects the representatives. This intermediary body is usually called the Electoral College. It is a system of Double election. In the first instance, the general mass of voters elect from among themselves a small group of electors. These electors then elect the final representatives who become the members of the legislature. Thus, the final choice of electing the representatives is not that of the general mass of voters but of the intermediary body of electors which the general mass of voters had elected in the first instance. This Indirect Election system is often used for the Constitution of second chamber. The Council of States in India, the President of India and the President of U.S.A. are elected by the method of indirect election.
Merits. 
(1) It is useful where the people are sufficiently educated and politically organised and where the constituencies are very large.
(2) The final choice of the representatives is in the hands of a body of selected persons who possess superior knowledge and are guided by a keener sense of responsibility. It helps to check popular passion.
(3) Clever politicians and orators cannot mislead the few selected people. There is no occasion for any disorder or dislocations taking place as a result of the voters being swayed by political passions. There are neither election campaigns nor party propaganda.
(4) This system minimises the evils of party politics and propaganda.
(5) Under this system there are in fact two elections. This involves delay which proves very useful. The Electoral College makes the final choice after cool consideration. The delay makes the situation cool and the (electors can vote freely and dispassionately).
Demerits. (1) The method of indirect election creates a big gap between the representative and the voters. The representatives do not feel responsible to the primary voters.
(2) The voters have no direct participation in the selection of their representatives, and so they take little interest in politics and become negligent on public affairs. The system, therefore, has no educative value.
(3) The system gives birth to corruption and political intrigue. The intermediate body of voters has a small membership and can be more easily bribed by a rich and powerful candidates.
(4) Actually it leads to more party strifes and in countries where political parties are well organised, election by indirect method has become a mere formality.
Conclusion. Out of the two methods of elections, the method of Direct Election prevails in most of the countries. In all the democratic countries, the representatives to the legislature are elected by the method of Direct Election. The members of the Upper House can be elected through the method of Indirect Election. In India, the members of the Rajya Sabha are elected by the method of Indirect Election. The President of India and the President of U.S.A. are also elected by the method of indirect election.

Q. 2. What do you understand by the First Past The Post (FPTP) System? Why this system was adopted in India?
Ans. 
The First Past The Post system is also known as territorial system. The first past the post system is adopted by most of the modern democratic states. In this system the total electorate of the country is divided into territorial units called Constituencies which elect one representative to the legislature.
At present, Lok Sabha consists of 543 elected members. Hence, the entire country is divided into 543 constituencies. Each constituency elects one representative. Every citizen of India of not less than 18 years has the right to vote. The voting is by secret ballot. The candidate who secures the highest number of votes in that constituency is declared elected. The winning candidate need not secure a majority of the votes. This method is known as the First Past The Post (FPTP) because in this method the candidate who is ahead of others, who crosses the winning post first of all, is declared elected.
Why is FPTPS method adopted in India?
In India, the first past the post system is adopted. This method of election is mentioned in the Constitution. The framers of the Constitution adopted this method of election due to the following reasons:
1. Simple Method. The first past the post system is very simple method of election and even the ordinary person understands it.
2. National Integration. This method of election secures the representation of the whole population generally and helps the process of national integration.
3. Close Relations between Representatives and Voters. Under this system Constituencies are generally small, hence close relationship between representatives and voters.
4. Stable Majority. This system is helpful to make parliamentary government successful because it helps to provide a stable majority in the legislature.
5. Based on Principle of Equality. This system is based on the principle of equality, i.e., ‘one person, one vote’.
6. Proportional representation not practicable. The system of proportional representation is very complex. An ordinary person cannot understand this system. Proportional representation is not a practicable method of election for a big country like India. Moreover, this system is harmful for national unity. Proportional representation would encourage each community to form its own nation-wide party.
The working of the Constitution has fulfilled the expectations of the framers of the Constitution. The first past the post system has worked very well in India and it has made Indian democratic system successful.

Q. 3. Explain the election procedure prevalent in India.
Ans.
India is a democratic country. But India had adopted indirect democracy. Administration is run by the representatives of the people, who are elected for a fixed term. In India, election procedure is as follows:
1. Constituencies. The first important task in election is delimitation of constituencies.
2. List of Voters. First, a temporary list of voters is prepared. If anybody’s name is excluded in the list, he can ask for inclusion of his name. But such a request is to be made within a fixed time.
3. Appointment. Senior and Junior staff for election purposes are appointed and supervised.
4. Polling Station. In each constituency, polling stations are established and a fixed number of voters are directed to cast their votes there.
5. Filing of the Nomination Papers. After the announcement of the date of election, nomination papers are filed in favour of candidates.
6. Withdrawal of Nomination. Candidates are allowed to withdraw their name from election. But this is to be done before the last date for withdrawal.
7. Scrutiny and Objections. On the fixed date, nominations papers are scrutinised and those papers, which are not proper, are rejected and the names of eligible candidates are announced.
8. Propaganda. With the announcement of election, political parties and independent candidates start propaganda and try to influence the voters.
9. Polling. On the day of the polling, holiday is declared so that each voter can cast his vote. At polling booth, voters are provided with a ballot receipt for entry in the polling booth. Now a days, Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are used for casting and recording votes. The voter presses the button alongside the name of his/her preferred party or candidate to cast his/her vote.
10. Counting of Votes. On a fixed date, votes recorded in various EVMs are calculated in the presence of the representatives of the candidates and votes are counted. A candidate getting the highest votes is declared elected. If a candidate failed to get one-sixth of the votes he then loses his sumitted security also.
11. Election Expenses. Each candidate has to submit the accounts of election expenditure to the Election Commission within forty five days of the declaration of result. The amount of election expenditure is fixed.

Q. 4. Describe the Composition, Powers and Functions of the Election Commission of India.
Ans.
India is a sovereign democratic republic. For the successful working of democracy, election must be held in a non-partisan spirit. The framers of our Constitution were aware of the need to have an independent and impartial agency to conduct free and fair elections in the country. To ensure this, the Constitution had provided Election Commission to conduct free and fair elections.
Composition. The Election Commission consists of the Chief Election Commissioner and such number of other Election Commissioners, the President may fix from time to time. On 1st October, 1993 the President had appointed two other Election Commissioners. The appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners is made by the President. Before each general election, the President also appoints, in consultation with the Election Commission, such Regional Commissioners as he considers necessary to assist the Election Commission. At present there is one Chief Election Commissioner and two other members.
The tenure and other service conditions of the Election Commission are determined by the President. Generally, the Election Commissioner is appointed for a period of six years. The conditions of services of the Chief Election Commissioner shall not be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment. The Chief Election Commissioner may only be removed when 2/3rd majority of the Parliament passes a resolution for his removal. Regional Commissioners can only be removed on the recommendations of the Chief Election Commissioner.
The President or the Governor of a state makes available to the Election Commission such staff as may be necessary for the discharge of its functions.
Powers and Functions of the Election Commission. Following are the main functions of the Election Commission:
1. Superintendence, direction and control of the electoral roll for election.
2. The conduct of elections to parliament and legislatures of states and also to the offices to the President and Vice-President.
3. The Election Commission fixes the time-table for the elections. On 5th March, 2014 the Election Commission announced a nine-phase poll schedule beginning April 7 to constitute the 16th Lok Sabha. Chief Election Commissioner, said the Lok Sabha poll would be held on April 7, April 9, April 10, April 12, April 17, April 24, April 30, May 7 and May 12.
4. The Election Commission orders a fresh election in a constituency or at a polling booth if resorting to malpractices, such as intimidation of voters, burning of polling booths, etc., has vitiated the electoral process. In May, 1996 the Election Commission ordered a repoll in 2,024 booths throughout the country. On February 20, 1998 the Election Commission ordered fresh poll in the entire Patna Parliamentary Constituency after declaring polling of February 16 as ‘null and void’.
5. The Election Commission is responsible to conduct free and fair election.
6. The Election Commission can postpone the election. On February 20, 1993, the Election Commission postponed the assembly poll in Tripura scheduled for February 15, 1993.
7. The Election Commissioner appoints Returning Officers and Assistant Returning Officers to conduct the election.
8. The Election Commission allots symbols to various political parties and the candidates.
9. The Election Commission is authorised to recognise a political party. It is the Election Commission that determines what political parties will be recognised at both national and state levels. In 2016, the Election Commission gave recognition to seven national political parties.
10. The Election Commissioner is to ensure that only those persons cast their vote, who are entitled to it and that there is no impersonation.
11. The Election Commission decides where polling booths should be set up so that electorates are not required to travel a long distance.
12. The Election Commission is responsible for the safe custody of the EVMs and the counting of votes before the results are announced.
13. The Election Commission prepares a code of conduct for all political parties and independent candidates who are contesting elections.
14. The Election Commission supervises the staff deputed by the Union Government and the State Government for the election purpose.
15. All election results are announced by the Election Commission. So far sixteen elections to the Lok Sabha have been conducted. The Election Commission had acquired considerable prestige and reputation for conducting elections in a fair and free manner.

Q. 5. Describe the main shortcomings of the present Election System in India.
Ans.
Since the adoption of the Constitution, India has conducted fourteen general elections. But the Indian electoral system is not perfect and has many drawbacks. Major drawbacks of Indian Electoral system are as follows:
1. The Distortion of Seat-Vote Ratio. The first and foremost defect of the present electoral system is that there is no relationship between the votes secured by a party and its strength in the Assembly or the Parliament. The number of seats secured by a particular party is not proportionate to the votes polled in their favour. The Congress stood to gain by this system. In 1952, the Congress poll percentage for the Lok Sabha was 44.99, in 1957 it was 47.78, in 1962 it was 44.73 and in 1967 it was 40.42. But the Congress succeeded in getting some 70% seats in the first three elections and a clear majority even in the fourth. On the other hand, other parties secured more percentage of votes but lesser percentage of seats. In 1984, the Congress (I) poll percentage for Lok Sabha was 49.16 but it secured three-fourth seats of Lok Sabha; On the other hand, all opposition parties secured more votes than the Congress (I) but they secured only about one-fourth seats of Lok Sabha.
2. Money Power. Another important drawback of Indian electoral system is the growing influence of money in elections. The expenses incurred during election are so huge that parties tend to give ticket only to a millionaire. The high cost of electioneering has resulted in corrupt practices. Official position is shamelessly exploited to pile up enormous funds and those funds are unscrupulously used to remain in power.
3. Independent Candidates. Besides sources of political parties, there are a number of independent candidates standing for election. Independent candidates may take as much as 15 per cent of the votes and yet they may not gain more than 3 per cent of the seats. A large percentage of votes is thus wasted.
4. Role of Caste. Right from the election of a candidate by a party to the election of a legislator by the voters, the caste factor plays a key role.
5. Misuse of Public Media. It is being alleged that the Congress was using the government monopoly in radio and television for the party. This thing has gone a long way in helping the party in power by protecting its image. These public media have thus been abused.
6. Importance to Individual Candidates. The existing system of election gives more importance to the individual candidates than the political party. The result is that these important individuals dictate their terms for remaining in the party.
7. Defect in Single-member Constituency System. Election on the basis of single member constituency system results in tension and bitterness among different sections of the population. After the polls, supporters of the defeated candidates feel sore and frustrated.
8. Biased in favour of Ruling Party. The ugly aspect of the Indian electoral system is that not merely is it heavily, if not totally, weighed in favour of one party dominance, but it has not much fragmented the party system that the people seem to be losing confidence in it altogether. No power can make democracy survive if the institution of parties is held in contempt or repudiated.

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