Election Commission of India (ECI) vs Federal Election Commission of U.S. | UPSC

Spread the love

IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 9th Nov 2020

“Dream big and dare to fail.” – Norman Vaughan

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020-21.

EDITORIAL HUNT #232 :“Election Commission of India (ECI) vs Federal Election Commission of U.S. | UPSC

Election Commission of India (ECI) vs Federal Election Commission of U.S. | UPSC
Navin B. Chawla
Election Commission of India (ECI) vs Federal Election Commission of U.S. | UPSC

Navin B. Chawla is a former Chief Election Commissioner of India , the biographer of Mother Teresa, and the author of ‘Every Vote Counts’

      HEADLINES:

Turning the spotlight on America’s election custodian

      CENTRAL THEME:

In its functioning, the U.S. Federal Election Commission has a much narrower mandate than its Indian equivalent

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Election

      MAINS QUESTION:

What are the differences between Election Commission of India and Federal Election Commissioner of America. Also throw light on Powers of Election Commissioner of India -(GS 2)

      LEARNING: 

  • Fake claims
  • Powers of Election Commission of India
  • A Comparison
  • Accepting the change

      INTRODUCTION: 

The presidential election in the United States has seen millions the world over glued to their TV screens as they watch the peregrinations (journey) of this important and dramatic election unfold.

  • FAKE CLAIMS : There have been cliffhanger moments when State results were declared, interspersed with premature announcements claiming victory.
  • A LEGALITY CHECK : Legal meanderings have occasionally rendered some moments in the election process of arguably the most powerful nation on earth as the theatre of the absurd.
  • ELITE MEDIA : Yet, no commentator, anchor or the clutch of experts that gather around Federal Election Commissioners.

      BODY: 

POWERS OF ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA

  • REMOVAL PROCEDURE : The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only by Parliamentary impeachment.
  • ELECTORAL ROLLS : The Election Commission prepares, maintains and periodically updates the Electoral Rolls, which show who is entitled to vote.
  • CAMPAIGN AND REGISTRATION : EC also supervises the nomination of candidates, registers political parties, monitors the election campaign, including the funding and exponential by candidates.
  • MEDIA COVERAGE : It also facilitates the coverage of the election process by the media and looks after the counting of votes and the declaration of results.
  • FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS : All this is done to ensure that elections can take place in an orderly and fair manner.

The Commission has its headquarters in New Delhi, with a Secretariat of some 350 staff members. 

  • CONSTITUTIONAL MANDATE : In India, our constitutional fathers had debated in the Constituent Assembly itself the necessity of imbuing the ECI with enormous power.
  • INDEPENDENCE OF ECI : Indeed, so vast are the powers accorded to the ECI during the election process that even the higher judiciary does not interfere during the course of the election process.

A COMPARISON

  • RECOGNITION : For a start, the Federal Election Commission has a much narrower mandate than its Indian equivalent.
  • ESTABLISHMENT : Moreover, the Federal Election Commission was established comparatively recently — it ‘opened its doors’ in 1975, with the special mandate to regulate campaign finance issues.
  • ELECTORAL FUNDING : As a watchdog, it is meant to disclose campaign finance information, to enforce the law regarding campaign contributions, and oversee public funding of the presidential election.

But, so far, We have not seen any report on such oversight either. The reason is astonishing. 

  • TOTAL COMMISSIONERS : The Federal Election Commission is led by six Commissioners.
  • APPOINTMENT : The six posts of Commissioner are supposed to be equally shared by Democrats and Republicans, and too have to be confirmed by the Senate.
  • VACANT SEATS : But at the time of this most critical presidential election, there are vacancies.
  • FUNCTIONING : In fact the Commission has hardly been able to function in the last year because of resignations, with the result that barring a brief two months, from May to July this year.
  • DELIBERATIONS AND DECISIONS : The Commission has effectively passed no orders at all since August 2019, because it has lacked a quorum — for which at least four members are needed.
  • PENDING CASES : As a result, several hundred matters lie pending before the Federal Election Commission for want of members.

A CONTRAST

  • INDIAN ELECTION PETITIONS : In sharp contrast, our Constitution’s fathers decided to limit the role of the judiciary in India to the post-election period, when election petitions may be filed.

The founding fathers were clear that if election-related petitions were entertained during the course of the election process, it would impede the process and delay election results interminably. 

  • AVOIDING DELAY : These delays and the acrimony, so adroitly avoided in India during the election process, is precisely what we are seeing now in the U.S.

WIDENING POSTAL BALLOTS BASE

  • POSTAL BALLOT IN U.S : In the 2016 U.S. election, almost a quarter of the votes counted arose from postal and early balloting.
  • POSTAL BALLOTS IN INDIA : In India we have confined postal ballots to only a few categories, of largely government staff as well as the police or armed forces.
  • WIDENING THE BASE : In these difficult times of the novel coronavirus pandemic, we need to widen this base to include all senior citizens and anyone else who may find it convenient to cast their vote early.

We will need to add more foolproof systems.

EXAMPLE
Postal ballots to the Indian Army have at present to be sent to a central post box

      IASbhai Windup: 

ACCEPTING CHANGE 

  • FINAL VERDICT : Wherever the final verdict has angered a section of voters, Opposition parties protest for weeks and months by sitting on dharna, often blocking whole avenues.

Elsewhere we also have heard the beating of utensils by those who are disgruntled for up to half-an-hour in the evenings. 

  • SHARP CONTRAST : Ever since our first election in 1951-2 and every single election since, our political parties, losers and winners alike, have invariably accepted the results declared by the ECI.
SUGGESTED READING : ALL ABOUT AMERICA’S ELECTIONS 
       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Election Commission of India (ECI) vs Federal Election Commission of U.S. | UPSC

 

TRENDING NOW : Important The Hindu Editorials 

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for Daily Current Affairs , Editorial Analysis & Answer writing video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.


Spread the love

Leave a Comment

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

IASbhai will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.