Context: The Supreme Court said that a government employee or bureaucrat cannot be appointed as Election Commissioner.
- It ordered the Goa government to appoint an independent election commissioner.
- The state government had given additional charge of State Election Commissioner to the state’s Law Secretary.
- The top court also directed all state election commissioners across the country, who currently hold additional charge, to step down immediately.
State Election Commission:
The Constitution of India vests in the State Election Commission, consisting of a State Election Commissioner, the superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of all elections to the Panchayats and the Municipalities (Articles 243K, 243ZA).
The State Election Commissioner is appointed by the Governor.
- Article 243K(1): It states that the superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to the Panchayats (Municipalities under Article 243ZA) shall be vested in a State Election Commission consisting of a State Election Commissioner to be appointed by the Governor.
- Article 243K(2): It states that the tenure and appointment will be directed as per the law made by the state legislature.
- However, State Election Commissioner shall not be removed from his/her office except in like manner and on the like grounds as a Judge of a High Court.
- As per Article 243(C3) the Governor, when so requested by the State Election Commission, makes available to the State Election Commission such staff as may be necessary for the discharge of the functions conferred on the SEC.
- Part-IX and Part-IXA were incorporated through the amendment no.73 and no.74 in the constitution of India covering provisions regarding the Panchayats and Municipalities respectively.
- These parts cover constitutions of Panchayats and Municipality including their elections by the State Election Commission.
- State election commission carries out activities related to
- preparation of wards / election division as per local bodies rules,
- decision of boundaries and distribution of seats along with preparation of voters list for the local bodies organizations like Gram Panchayat, Taluka and District Panchayat / Municipality and Municipal Corporation of the state and conducting general / mid-term / bye-elections and supervising them.
- For all these functions, the authority is vested in the State Election Commission.
- State election commission has empowered the collectors for all activities related to elections of Gram Panchayat.
- The delimitation and allocation of seats for various reserved categories, voter's list, election programs and other related activities are carrying out by State Election Commission.