The Election Commission of India (ECI) is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India. The ECI was formed on 25th January 1950 (Later celebrated as National Voters Day).The ECI Headquarter is located in New Delhi.
The Election Commissioners are usually retired Indian Administrative Service(IAS) officers. Until 1989, the commission was a single member body, but later two additional Election Commissioners were added. Thus, the Election Commission currently consists of a Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners. The decisions of the commission are taken by a majority vote. Achal Kumar Jyoti is the current Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners are Om Prakash Rawat and Sunil Arora.
The Chief Election Commissioner and the two Election Commissioners who are usually retired IAS officers draw salaries and allowances at par with those of the Judges of the Supreme Court of India as per the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Conditions of Service) Rules, 1992.
A law regarding the registration process for political parties was enacted in 1989 and a number of parties got registered with the Commission. The registration helps avoid confusion ensures that the political parties are brought under the purview of the commission.
The election commission has the right to allow symbols to the political parties. It gives recognition to the national parties, state parties and regional parties. It set limits on poll expenses. The commission prepare electoral rolls and update the voter's list from time to time. Notifications of dates and schedules of election for filing nominations are issued by the commission. The Commission can issue an order for prohibition of publication and disseminating of results of opinion polls or exit polls to prevent influencing the voting trends in the electorate.
The Election Commission launched a web site of its own on 28 February 1998 in order to provide accurate information, management, administration and instant results of the elections. In an effort to prevent electoral fraud, in 1993, EPICs or Electors Photo Identity Cards were issued, which became mandatory by the 2004 elections. However ration cards have been allowed for election purposes in certain situations. In 1998, the Commission decided on a program for the 'computerization' of the electoral rolls.
The introduction of Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) in eight Lok Sabha constituencies in 2014 Indian General Elections was a big achievement for the Election Commission. This Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) system was first used with EVMs in a by-poll in September 2013 in Noksen (Assembly Constituency) in Nagaland and eventually in all elections from September 2013 onwards in various Legislative elections in the country.
In 2014, None of the above or NOTA was also added as an option on the voting machines which is now a mandatory option to be provided in any election. The specific symbol for NOTA, a ballot paper with a black cross across it, was introduced on 18 September 2015. The symbol has been designed by National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. With the Bihar Legislative Assembly election, 2015 , the state became the first to have photo electoral rolls, with photographs of the candidates on the EVMs.
The Chief Election Commissioner of India can be removed from his office by the Parliament with a two-thirds majority in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on the grounds of proved misbehavior or incapacity. Other Election Commissioners can be removed by the President of India on the recommendation of the Chief Election Commissioner. A Chief Election Commissioner has never been impeached in India.