In India the election procedure has been provided primarily in the Constitution of India and the Representation of People Act of 1950 and 1951. Prior to 1988, the voting age of a person was 21 years but by the Constitution Amendment Act, 1988, Article 326 was amended to reduce the voting age to 18 years and after that amendments were also made in the Representation of People Act of 1950 and 1951 to include such a provision. Above authorities seeks to provide for a free and fair election but many problems have been arising in this regard on account of division in our polity on the basis of religion, caste, language, region and race.
With the passage of time there has been a steady deterioration in the standards and practices. Unfair means, corrupt practices, money power, muscle power are being freely employed to win the elections. A number of legal provisions have been made to make the election process fair and transparent. For instance, booth capturing was one of the ways political parties had been known to use in order to wrench a false mandate from a hostile electorate by force.
Booth capturing is an offence now and is punishable with up to two years imprisonment and fine. Yet another glaring example is that Government of India has amended the Representation of People Act, 1951 to empower the people to know about the antecedents and overall information of their candidates to whom they are going to elect for the political posts. Of late Election Commission, which is the Constitutional body responsible for conducting elections, has been very active and vigilant in order to conduct free and fair elections.
The Commission’s work has been widely appreciated not only in India but also abroad. Parliament brought the Eighty-fourth Amendment to the Constitution in 2001 providing that no fresh readjustment of constituencies could be undertaken until the figures of the 1st census taken after year 2000 are published. The Delimitation Commission was also constituted under the Chairmanship of Justice Kuldeep Singh in 2002 to readjust the division of territorial constituencies in the seats of Lok Sabha allocated to each State.
The Commission was also to readjust the division of territorial constituencies of the total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of each State.