Chapter 3 Election and Representation
Which of the following resembles most a direct democracy?
(a) Discussions in a family meeting.
(b) Election of the class monitor.
(c) Choice of a candidate by a political party.
(d) Decisions taken by the Gram Sabha.
(e) Opinion polls conducted by the media
(d) Decisions taken by the Gram Sabha.
Which of the following tasks are not performed by the Election Commission?
(a) Preparing the Electoral Rolls.
(b) Nominating the candidates.
(c) Setting up polling booths.
(id) Implementing the model code of conduct.
(e) Supervising the Panchayat elections.
(e) Supervising the Panchayat elections.
Which of the following is common to the method of election of the members of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha?
(a) Every citizen above the age of 18 is an eligible voter.
(b) Voter can give preference order for different candidates.
(c) Every vote has equal value.
(d) The winner must get more than half the votes.
(a) Every citizen above the age of 18 is an eligible voter.
In the First Past the Post System, that candidate is declared winner who:
(a) Secures the largest number of postal ballots.
(b) Belongs to the party that has highest number of votes in the country.
(c) Has more votes than any other candidate in the constituency.
(d) Attains first position by securing more than 50% votes.
(c) Has more votes than any other candidate in the constituency.
What is the difference between the system of reservation of constituencies and the system of separate electorate? Why did the Constitution makers reject the latter?
There is much difference between the system of reservation of constituencies and system of separate electorate:
Separate electorate system:
- It has been a curse to India.
- The British started this system to divide votes between the Sikhs, the Muslims, and some other minorities.
- These groups elected their own representatives by separate vote.
- In separate electorate system, the candidates are elected by those voters, who belong to that particular community.
System of reservation of constituencies:
- All voters are eligible to vote.
- Candidate must belong to a particular community for which seat is reserved.
- The constitution provides the reservation of seats in the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assemblies. The constitution-makers rejected the latter because they were aware that the system of separate electorate destroyed the spirit of national integration.
Which of the following statements are incorrect? Identify and correct them by substituting, adding or rearranging only one word or phrase.
(a) FPTP system is followed for all the elections in India.
(b) Election Commission does not supervise PanChayat and Municipal elections.
(c) President of India cannot remove an Election Commissioner.
(d) Appointment of more than one Election Commissioner in the Election Commission is mandatory.
(a) This is incorrect, the correct statement is FPTP system is followed for all elections in India except election of the President, the Vice President and for the elections to the Rajya Sabha and the Vidhan Parishad.
(b) This is correct statement
(c) This is incorrect because the President can remove an Election Commissioner.
(d) This is also incorrect. The correct statement is the appointment of more than one Election Commissioner is not mandatory.
Indian electoral system aims at ensuring representation of socially disadvantaged sections. However, we are yet to have even 10 per cent women members in our legislatures. What measures would you suggest to improve the situation?
The Indian Constitution provides the reservation for SC’s and ST’s in our legislative’s. But it lacks the similar reservation for disadvantaged groups. As there should be some more reservation for women through the constitutional amendment, which should not only be a proposal, but also be passed.
Here are some wishes expressed in a conference to discuss a constitution for a new country. Write against each of these whether FPTP or Proportional Representation system is more suited to meet each of these wishes.
(a) People should clearly know who is their representative so that they can hold him or her personally accountable.
(b) We have small linguistic minorities who are spread all over the country; we should ensure fair representation to them.
(c) There should be no discrepancy between votes and seats for different parties.
(d) People should be able to elect a good candidate even if they do not like his or her political party.
(b) Proportional Representation
(c) Proportional Representation
A former Chief Election Commissioner joined a political party and contested elections. There are various views on this issue. One view is that a former Election Commissioner is an independent citizen and has a right to join any political party and to contest election. According to the other view, leaving this possibility open can affect the impartiality of the Election Commission. So, former Election Commissioners must not be allowed to contest any elections. Which position do you agree with and why?
Election Commission of India is a constitutional independent body set for conducting elections of the Union Parliament, the state Legislative Assembly, President and Vice President under the Article 324(i) of India Constitution. The Election Commission is an impartial agency to conduct free and fair elections in country. Hence, Election Commissioner must not be allowed to contest any election because it can affect the impartiality of the Commission.
“Indian democracy is now ready to shift from a crude First Past the Post system to a system of Proportional Representation”. Do you agree with this statement? Give your reasons for or against this statement.
Yes, I agree with the statement along with the following reasons:
- India enjoys a multi-party system including regional parties, hence to provide the shape to all the political parties, the proportional system is far better.
- Decentralization of power strengthens the sense of responsibility along with national unity and integrity.
- Representation democracy makes the democracy more effective and trustworthy.
- It ensures the political parties to get seats along with proportionate votes.
- The election system has allowed the voters to change governments peacefully both at the state and the national level.
- Voters have consistently keen interest to the election process. Hence, the number of candidates and parties are continuously on rise.
Extra Questions Solved
Very Short Answer Type Questions
What is Democracy?
Democracy is a type of government of the people, for the people and by the people.
What is meant by a direct democracy?
In direct democracy, the citizens directly participate in day-to-day decision making and in the running of the government. Example – Greece.
What do you mean by Universal Adult Franchise?
All adult citizens of a country above maturity age are entitled to enjoy the right to vote without any discrimination, known as Universal Adult Franchise.
What does FPTP and PR stand for?
FPTP: First Past the Post System.
PR: Proportional Representation.
Mention the amendment made in constitution of India in 1989.
It reduced the eligibility age of Universal Adult Franchise from 21 to 18.
What do you mean by Election System?
Election system is a medium to elect the representatives especially in indirect democracy to form the government. The representatives are elected by the people to act in accordance with the wishes of the people.
What is electoral behavior?
Through elections people participate in election process to determine who will hold power. Hence, elections are visible expression of public interest which is determined by individual’s own reasons and perceptions as well as his being a part of a group. Electoral behavior depends on both short term and long term influences.
What is Direct Method of Election?
In Direct Method of Election:
- A voter participates in election directly.
- A voter casts his vote to a candidate of one’s own choice.
- Secret method of ballot is used.
- Elected representatives hold the rein of government of the country.
What is an Indirect Method of Election?
In Indirect Method of Election:
- Voters do not elect the representatives directly.
- Voters elect intermediary electors who are collectively known as Electoral College.
- Electoral college elects the representatives to the legislative assemblies.
What do you understand by Simple Majority Representation System?
The Simple Majority Representation System declares the candidate elected who secures votes more than others. In this system to secure absolute majority is not necessary. In this system in the case of multi-cornered contests, candidate even with less than 50% votes is elected.
What is Political Minority?
Political Minority refers to the opposition party. After elections, the party who gets majority forms the government and other parties who do not get majority become opposition parties and known as political minority who enjoys the right to convert themselves into political majority democratic methods.
Mention the shortcomings of the Simple Majority System of Elections.
Simple Majority System of Elections declares the candidate to be winner even in the case of not getting an absolute majority or if even more than 50% voters do not like the candidate.
Define Secret Ballot system.
Secret Ballot system refers to the secret ballot-when everyone chooses one’s own candidate in secret as well as does not disclose one’s choice also, so that others could not pressurize the one.
What are Mid-term Elections?
Mid-Term Elections refer to elections held before the expiry of the term of Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly due to some reasons or the other or if Lok Sabha or state Legislative Assemblies are dissolved by the President or Governor before expiry of the terms of Lok Sabha or Legislative Assemblies.
What do you mean by Bye-election?
Bye-election refers to the elections held on creating some sudden reasons which make the seat vacant, i.e. resignation or the sudden death of the member, etc.
“Universal Adult Franchise is important in a democracy”. Justify the statement.
Universal Adult Franchise is important in a democracy for the following reasons:
- Right to vote is enjoyed by every adult without any discrimination on any ground.
- Only lunatics, bankrupts, minors or criminals are deprived of right to vote.
- The age of adulthood differs from country to country, i.e. 18 years in India, 21 years in the USA and 23 years in Norway and so on.
- Everyone is treated equally.
- This provides political education to the citizens and develop self-respect.
What is political participation?
- To elect the representatives or to be elected as a representative.
- To be a member of executive.
- To be selected for government post.
- A steady increase in percentage of voters turnout despite some functions.
What is Election Manifesto? Explain.
Election Manifesto is a document to let the voters know about programmes, policies and aims of political party to be declared on the eve of elections:
- It clarifies the internal and external policies of the government.
- People became aware of performance of the political party on winning.
- People can pressurize even the winning party or the government to work on behalf of manifesto.
What do you mean by the list system?
- Large multi-member constituencies are formed.
- Many members/representatives are elected from each constituency.
- Each political party submits a list of as many candidates as are to be elected from political constituency.
- The voters vote for the list, which are indivisible to be elected.
- Each candidate has to secure minimum votes fixed by the quota to be obtained by dividing the total number of votes polled to the party by the quota.
- The same number of candidates enumerated in the party list from top are declared successful.
How does India ensure the secret ballot?
Secret ballot is ensured in India:
- The voter is given a secret ballot paper by the presiding officer of the polling booth.
- The voter goes behind the curtain to vote to the candidate of one’s own choice.
- Now-a-days, EVM’s (Electronic Voting Machines) are being used in place of ballot paper.
- The voter presses the button against the candidate of his/her choice with the symbols assigned to them.
- This maintains the complete secrecy because no one else comes to know to whom the voter has voted.
- Even the candidate does not come to know who has voted him or not.
How does the Election Commission recognize the regional party?
The Election Commission lays down the following criterion to recognize the regional parties:
- The Election Commission declares and decides that which political party stands at national level or which should stand at regional level.
- The Election Commission has been empowered to see the popularity of the regional party in a particular region.
- The Election Commission checks the organization and membership of the party.
- The Election Commission looks after either the regional party works under the code of conduct or not as assigned by the Election Commission.
Read the passage (NCERT Textbook, page 72) given below carefully and answer the questions that follows:
No system of election can ever be perfect. And in actual election process, there are bound to be many flaws and limitations. Any democratic society has to keep searching for mechanisms to make elections free and fair to the maximum. With the acceptance of adult suffrage, freedom to contest elections, and the establishment of an independent Election Commission, India has tried to make its election process free and fair. However, the experience of the last fifty five years has given rise to many suggestions for reforming our election system. The Election Commission, political parties, various independent groups, and many scholars have come up with proposals for electoral reform. Some of these suggestions are about changing the constitutional provisions.
1. What is being referred to in the passage?
2. What mechanisms have been adopted by India to make free and fair election?
3. On what, more emphasis has been given regarding electoral reforms?
1. Passage refers to the electoral reforms required by country.
2. Acceptance of adult suffrage
Freedom to contest election
Establishment of an independent election commission.
3. To change the constitutional provisions, i.e. FPTP should be changed to PR system, some more reservations should also be ensured and the candidates from criminal background should be barred from contesting elections, etc.
Read the passage (NCERT Textbook, page 70) given below carefully and answer the questions that follows:
The Election Commission has very limited staff of its own. It conducts the elections with the help of the administrative machinery. However, once the election process has begun, the commission has control over the administration as far as election related work is concerned. During the election process, the administrative officers of the State and central governments are assigned election related duty and in this respect, the Election Commission has full control over them. The EC can transfer the officers, or stop their transfers; it can take action against them for failing to act in a non-partisan manner.
1. How does the Election Commission conduct the elections?
2. During election process, who are assigned election related duty?
3. What are the powers of Election Commission?
1. The Election Commission conducts the election with the help of administrative machinery.
2. The administrative officers of the state and central governments are assigned election related duty and Election Commission has full control over them.
3. The Election Commission has full control over them.
The EC can transfer the officers or stop their transfers.
It can take action against them for failing to act in a non-partisan manner.
Long Answer Type Questions
Explain the role of Election Commission of India.
The role of Election Commission can be summarized as follows:
- The Election Commission controls over the election machinery to conduct free and fair elections as supervises and makes changes if needed in the electoral rules of the elections.
- The Election Commission prepares the voters’ list who enjoy the right to vote as well as considers objections also to be raised by voters in reference of voters’ list.
- Election Commission provides the election symbols to the political parties as well as to independent candidates. As Congress (I) has been assigned the symbol of hand and lotus has been provided to BJP. The independent candidates are provided symbols on temporary basis.
- The Election Commission declares and recognizes the political parties as national or regional.
How does the Election Commission of India ensure its independence?
The Election Commission ensures its independence by the following provisions
- Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners and Regional Election Commissioners are appointed for a fixed term.
- The Chief Election Commissioner cannot be removed from his office before the expiry of his term except on the grounds of incapacity and misbehavior only if a resolution to this effect is passed by both the houses of parliament by a two-third majority.
- Other Election Commissioners and Regional Election Commissioners can be removed from the Office only on the recommendations of the Chief Election Commissioner.
- Salaries and other allowances of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners are to be paid out of consolidated fund of India.
- Tenure and other service conditions of Chief Election Commissioner and others, are fixed by the president, but they cannot be changed to their disadvantage during their term of office.
What is the composition of Election Commission of India?
- The Election Commission consists of Chief Election Commissioner and the number of other Election Commissioners may also be fixed by the president from time to time.
- Thus, the Election Commission may be single member or multi member body. Till 1989, the Election Commission was a single member body.
- In 1993, two more Election Commissioners were also appointed and become multi¬member body since then.
- The Chief Election Commissioner presides over the Election Commission, but the other Election Commissioners also enjoy the same power to work mainly on consensus as a collective body only.
- The constitution of India has ensured independence of Election Commission and declared it can important body to conduct free and fair elections.
Sometimes criticism has taken place against Universal Adult Suffrage. Explain them.
Universal Adult Suffrage refers to the right to vote given to all adult citizens without any distinction of caste, class, colour, creed, language, religion, etc. It has faced some criticisms also:
- Right to vote is a special privilege to confer on those who utilize it for the welfare of the state. Hence, it should be conferred only to the educated persons and illiterate persons should be debarred from it because they cannot understand who is the best candidate for the state.
- The Universal Adult Suffrage establishes the government of fools because fools and ignorant form the majority in the society which can create some dangerous consequences in the state.
- All the people should not be given the right to vote equally and to contest elections as well because God has not created everybody equal.
- The right to vote should be extended to those persons only who are competent or capable of using it because it is a responsibility not the right and a responsibility cannot be extended to the incompetent persons.
- The Universal Adult Suffrage leads to corruption because contesting and voting, both are usually made on the bases of money and muscle power by dominating the poor the downtrodden people.
Suggest some major suggestions for electoral reforms.
The various committees have worked on electoral reforms, i.e. the Goswami Committee and Tarkunde Committee, but these have not brought substantial changes in electoral system and law. It seems that political parties are indifferent to electoral reforms because in some cases, political parties have neutralized the steps taken by the Election Commission to bring in some desired changes. It is now widely recognized to preserve and strengthen the democratic setup a comprehensive agenda of reforms is necessary in system, structure and processes:
- Criminalization should be checked in politics.
- Political parties’ functions should be regulated.
- Voters’ participation and awareness should be ensured.
- Make the election machinery effective and credible.
- The use of money and muscle power should be stopped.
- A proportionate share to every class, section and society should also be provided in the parliament.
What is the electoral process in India?
The electoral process is performed into different stages under the provisions of Representation of People Act, 1950 and 1951:
- First of all, constituencies are formed in a territorial area from where a candidate contest election.
- The nomination papers are filled with the returning officer.
- The scrutiny is made to check whether the information filled in nomination form, are correct.
- After the scrutiny is over, the candidate is given a date for withdrawal.
- Then Election campaign takes place by various techniques by holding rallies, meetings, processions, distributing handbills and door-to-door canvassing, etc.
- The election campaign stops 48 hours earlier before polling is held on the due date. Presiding officers and polling officers supervise the whole polling process. The voters vote through the secret ballot.
- After the voting is over, the counting made on a fixed date and time. The candidate getting highest number of votes, is declared elected.
1. Read the cartoon (NCERT Textbook, page 52) given below and answer the questions that follow:
1. They say elections are carnival of democracy. But this cartoon depicts chaos instead. Is this true of elections always?
2. Is it good for democracy?
1. No, this is not true of elections always. Generally, maximum elections are conducted peacefully in a democratic way.
2. It is not good for democracy to conduct elections in chaotic lawlessness. This is harmful to destroy democracy only because most of the people will not go to the polling booth themselves
2. Read the cartoon (NCERT Textbook, page 61) given below and answer the questions that follow:
1. These members of the ruling party are trying to listen to the ‘tiny’ opposition! Was this the effect of our electoral system?
2. What does the cartoon represent?
1. Yes, in the beginning, there was only one political party that dominated in the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha. The opposition was not so popular to play any role, they were only the nominated representatives in both the houses of parliament.
2. The cartoon represents the role played by opposition party and the ruling party is making efforts to hear its voice.
3. Read the cartoon (NCERT Textbook, page 67) given below and answer the questions that follow:
1. Why is the Universal Adult Franchise compared to an elephant?
2. Is it unmanageable?
3. Or is it like the story in which everyone describes the elephant only by its parts?
1. An elephant is of a giant size and in such a manner, all adult of a country (above 18 years) prepare a very big electoral vote.
2. Yes, it is quiet difficult to manage such a big group, but it is not unmanageable as since 1952, our election commission has been managing it successfully till date.
3. Yes, in India, such a huge group of adult voters in different areas, belonging to different castes are described by every political party in different groups or sections or interests. Except elections of Lok Sabha, different elections are conducted by Election Commission in different phases also.
4. Read the cartoon (Textbook, page 71) given below and answer the questions that follow:
1. The Netaji is afraid of EC. Why do leaders fear the Election Commission?
2. Is this good for democracy?
1. The leaders fear the Election commission because they want to win the election by hook or crook but the election commission keeps check on them not to try money or muscle power to win by issuing a code of conduct on them.
2. Yes, this is good for democracy to ensure free and fair elections as Election Commission enjoys several rights, powers and functions being an autonomous body of country.
5. Read the cartoon (NCERT Textbook, page 73) given below and answer the questions that follow:
1. What does the cartoon represent?
2. Should a person accused of a serious crime be barred from contesting an election?
1. The cartoon shows the image of a criminal turned politician facing the public.
2. A person accused of a serious crime should be barred from contesting elections because:
- He or she can threaten the voters and candidates, contesting elections.
- He or she can use money or muscle power.
- The group that believes in bullet and not in ballot.