An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy has operated since the 17th century.
Types of Elections in India & World:
There are different types of election systems in the world. We can classify these into two types:
1. Majoritarian systems
2. Proportional Representation Systems
Article 324 to 329
of the constitution provides the framework for electoral system in India.
Election Process for the Lok Sabha (India):
- Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by adult universal suffrage and a first-past-the-post system.
- The maximum strength of the House envisaged by the Constitution is 552. This may include up to 530 members from the states, up to 20 members from the Union Territories. The president can nominate two members from Anglo-Indian community. The 95th Amendment Act, 2009 extended the period for further ten years till 2020.
Various aspects of elections in Lok Sabha:
- Direct Election
- Territorial Constituency
- Readjustment of constituencies after each census
- Reservation of seats for SCs and STs
- The members of Lok Sabha are elected through direct election by the people. Every citizen of the country, who is more than 18 years of age, can vote in the election irrespective of his/her social status, religion, caste, race etc.
- Each state is divided into territorial constituencies for the purpose of elections. One member of Lok Sabha is elected from each constituency. That means, the number of seats for the election are equal to the number of constituencies.
Readjustment of constituencies after each census:
- After every census, there may be a need to read just the constituencies; as the delimitation is based on population and not on area.
Reservation of seats for SCs and STs:
- The constitution provides for reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the Lok Sabha. The 95th Amendment Act, 2009 extended the period of reservation for further ten years till 2020.
- As per the 87th Amendment Act, 2003, the number of seats to be reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha shall be on the basis of 2001 census.
Election Process for the Rajya Sabha:
- Rajya Sabha is the Upper House of Parliament, which cannot have more than 250 members. Members of Rajya Sabha are not elected by the people directly. They are elected by the members of the legislative assemblies of the states in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
- Twelve members of the Rajya Sabha are nominated by the President, who has earned distinction in the fields of literature, art, science and social service.
- Rajya Sabha is a permanent body. It is not subject to dissolution but one-third of its members retire after every two years. At present, Rajya Sabha comprises of 245 members.
Qualification for Membership of Parliament:
- He should be a Citizen of India.
- He should subscribe before the person authorised by the election commission an oath according to Third Schedule of the constitution.
- A member for a seat in Rajya Sabha should not be less than thirty years of age.
- A member for a seat in Lok Sabha should not be less than twenty five years of age.
- He should possess such other qualifications as Parliament may prescribe by law.
Disqualification of the member:Article 102
of the Constitution lays down the disqualifications for being chosen as, and for being, a member of either House of Parliament:
- If he holds any office of profit under Government of India or any state.
- If he is not a citizen of India or if has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign state or acknowledges his allegiance or adherence to a foreign state.
- If he is disqualified by or under any law made by Parliament.
The parliament has prescribed a number of additional disqualifications in the Representation of People Act, 1951, In addition to these, the Tenth Schedule to constitution provides for disqualification of the members on ground of defection.
Elections Process for the State Legislative Assemblies
The legislative assembly is composed of representatives of the people chosen by direct election on the basis of the universal adult suffrage. The maximum strength is fixed at 500 and minimum strength at 60.
The governor can nominate one member from Anglo-Indian community if, in his opinion, the community is not adequately represented in the House.
Each state is divided into territorial constituencies for the purpose of elections. One member of legislative assembly is elected from each constituency.
Readjustment after each census:
After each census, a readjustment is to be made in the total number of seats in the legislative assembly of each state and the division of each state into territorial constituencies.
Elections Process for the Legislative Council:
The total number of members in the legislative council of a state having such a council shall not exceed one-third of the total number of members in the legislative assembly of the state. However, in no case, the strength of the legislative council shall be less than forty
. The actual strength of a council is fixed by the parliament. The composition of legislative council is partly through indirect election partly through special constituencies and partly by nomination.