The chief election commissioner is responsible for running the Election Commission of India- a body constituted to conduct fair and free elections to the state and national legislatures as well as of Vice-President and President. Usually, the Chief Election Commissioner of India is elected among the Indian Civil Service or Indian Administrative Service members.
Administrative Powers of Election Commission
- Decide the electoral constituencies’ territorial areas throughout the country. The decision is based on the Delimitation Commission Act of Parliament.
- To amend and organize the electoral rolls periodically
- Ensure registration of all the qualified voters.
- To schedule and inform the dates of election
- The election commissioner scrutinizes the nomination papers
- Grant recognition to the political parties and allot them election symbols.
- To settle disputes related to party recognition of the political parties.
The Election Commission of India appoints the following-
- District Election Officer– ECI appoints the District Election Officer of the Union Territory or State for supervision of the election work in the particular district. The decision is taken in consultation with the Union Territory Administration/State Government.
- Chief Electoral Officer– The election commission in consultation with Union Territory Administration/State Government designates or nominates the Chief Electoral Officer of the particular UT/State.
- Electoral Registration Officer– It is the responsibility of the ECI to appoint Electoral Registration Officer of the local or State government for managing Electoral rolls for an assembly/parliamentary constituency.
- Returning Officer– The election commission in consultation with Union Territory Administration/State Government designates or nominates an officer of a local authority or of the Government as the parliamentary constituency’s and assembly’s Returning Officer. The Officer manages the conduct of elections in the assembly or parliamentary constituency in assistance with the Assistant Returning Officers.
About Current Election Commissioner of India
Sukumar Sen was appointed as the first chief election commissioner of India, while V. S. Ramadevi served as the first woman chief election commissioner of India.
Currently, Om Prakash Rawat is the acting Election Commissioner. He is the retired IAS officer (Batch- 1977), who has also served in the Ministry of Defence as joint secretary. Rawat also held various key positions in the Madhya Pradesh and union governments. He was appointed as an Election Commissioner in August 2015. The 22nd Chief Election Commissioner of India has also served as the country’s Public Enterprise Secretary. He was awarded with ‘recognition of forest rights’ by the state government in 2009.