ELECTION COMMISSION of INDIA
The superintendence, direction and control of preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, elections to Parliament and State Legislatures and elections to the offices of the President and the Vice-President of India are vested in the Election Commission of India. It is an independent constitutional authority. Since its inception in 1950 and till October 1989, the Commission functioned as a single member body consisting of the Chief Election Commissioner. On 16 October 1989, the President appointed two more Election Commissioners on the eve of the General Election to the House of the People held in November-December 1989. However, the said two Commissioners ceased to hold office on 1 January 1990 when those two posts of Election Commissioners were abolished.
Again on 1 October 1993, the President appointed two more Election Commissioners. Simultaneously, the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Conditions of Service) Act, 1991 was amended to provide that the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners will enjoy equal powers and will receive equal salary, allowances and other perquisites as payable to a judge of the Supreme Court of India. The Act further provided that in case of difference of opinion amongst the Chief Election Commissioner and/or two other Election Commissioners, the matter will be decided by the Commission by majority. The validity of that Act (renamed in 1993 as the Election Commission) (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991 was challenged before the Supreme Court. The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court consisting of five judges, however, dismissed the petitions and upheld the provisions of the above law by a unanimous judgment on 14 July 1995.
Independence of the Election Commission and its insulation from executive interference is ensured by a specific provision under Article 324(5) of the Constitution that the Chief Election Commissioner shall not be removed from his office except in like manner and on like grounds as a Judge of the Supreme Court and conditions of his service shall not be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment. The other Election Commissioners cannot be removed from office except on recommendation of the Chief Election Commissioner. The term of office of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners is six years from the date he/she assumes office or till the day he/she attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.