Model Question and Answers for APSC | What are the challenges before the Election Commission of India to ensure the trustworthiness of elections in India?
Ans : The Election Commission of India (EC) is a formidable institution that has led the world in electoral efficiency since its inception. But recently, it has come under the scanner like never before in the wake of incidents involving a breach of the Model Code of Conduct, particularly those by the ruling party.
The challenges before the Election Commission of India to ensure the trustworthiness of elections in India
1. Recently, in a letter to the President of India, a group of retired bureaucrats and diplomats, in the context of recent incidents, expressed concern over the EC’s “weak-kneed conduct” and the institution “suffering from a crisis of credibility today”.
2. Hate speeches by various leaders like Mayawati, Yogi Adityanath were only barred after the intervention of the Supreme Court.
3. Transfer and appointment of Chief Electoral Officer, verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) audit, violations of the MCC, are raising a question over institutional autonomy of the Election Commission.
4. Then there are issues of fake news, misuse of all-powerful social media for electoral gains.
5. No Legal Backing of MCC, Undefined Scope of Powers of ECI.
6. The EC does not have the power to disqualify candidates who commit electoral malpractices. At best, it may direct the registration of a case.
The Supreme Court held in Mohinder Singh Gill vs Chief Election Commissioner 1978 that Article 324 contains plenary powers to ensure free and fair elections and these are vested in the ECI which can take all necessary steps to achieve this constitutional object.