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Critically analyse the role and powers of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in conducting free and fair elections.

Topic: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

2. Critically analyse the role and powers of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in conducting free and fair elections. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The question is based on the role of ECI in conducting free and fair elections.  

Key Demand of the question:

The article provides a critical analysis of the role and powers of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in conducting free and fair elections.

Directive:

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with some information on ECI.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Talk about the powers of ECI and its evolution – Evolution of powers –

Constitutional body: Under Article 324 of the Indian Constitution, the ECI superintends, directs and controls the conduct of elections. Discovery of hidden powers by T.N. Seshan in Article 324, which was then used to discipline recalcitrant political parties, who considered rigging the election as their birthright. Judicial backing: Supreme Court (S.C.) in Mohinder Singh Gill vs Chief Election Commissioner case held that Article 324 contains plenary powers to ensure free and fair elections, and ECI can take all necessary steps to achieve this constitutional objective. The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) etc.

Present the issues associated with ECI – No legal backing for MCC, Confusion regarding enforceability, abrupt transfer of officials, Intervention in administrative decisions of Government etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance and need to give it more teeth.