Election Process in India: Types, Methods of Election, Electoral System in India

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

From the first general elections in 1952, Elections in India have been the greatest electoral process in the entire world. The electoral process in India is more complicated due to the country’s cultural, linguistic, religious, and ethnic variety as well as the fact that it is the largest democracy in the world. There are different types of elections in India that are conducted for all levels of government.

In this article, we will discuss the types of elections in India, the electoral process, along with the methods involved in the election process. Understanding the elections in India is very crucial, if you are aiming to become an IAS Officer.

Elections in India

It is essential that the procedures used to conduct a government election process be adequate if elections are to have actual significance in a democratic society and fulfill expectations. Only after doing a thorough analysis of the approaches and considering their benefits and drawbacks can their suitability be determined.

According to the Constitution, India has a parliamentary system with a division of power between the central government and the states. The President of India serves as both the ceremonial head of state and the ultimate commander-in-chief of all Indian defense forces.

Since India is a democracy, everyone is entitled to cast a secret ballot in the general elections for the parliament. Members of Parliament, as they are collectively known, are all elected officials who have the opportunity to serve a term of five years.

Election Process in India

India is divided into States and Union Territories. Each state has a Governor who serves as the state’s head; however, the Chief Minister is the head of the party or political coalition that won a majority in the regional elections, also known as State Assembly Elections.

The State Assembly Elections are used to elect the State’s executive body, which actually has de facto executive authority.

The Chief Minister of each State has executive authority within that State and collaborates with the Indian Prime Minister or their ministries on issues that need both Central and State attention. Other (usually smaller) Union Territories are ruled by someone the President of India appoints. Some Union Territories also vote for an Assembly and have a regional administration.

Election Process in India Notes

Types of Elections in India

India is a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic. The Constitution’s conception of democracy is that the people will be represented in Parliament and State legislatures through the electoral process.

The types of elections in India include elections for:

  • Members of the Parliament in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha
  • Members of State Legislative Councils,
  • Members of State Legislative Assemblies
  • Members of local governance bodies
  • The by-election is when the seat-holder of a particular constituency dies, resigns, or is disqualified.

Methods of Election In India

Every adult citizen of the nation has the opportunity to take part in the formation of the government through elections. All Indians who are 18 years of age or older, regardless of caste, color, religion, sex, or place of birth, have the right to vote in these elections because they are held on the principle of universal adult franchise.

The methods of election used in the Indian electoral system are:

  • First Past the Post System: In this system, elections are held in each constituency determined by the Election Commission, and the winner is the one who receives the most votes. First-past-the-post voting is used to elect both the Lok Sabha and each Vidhan Sabha. The electors may vote for only one candidate (of their choosing) in each constituency; the candidate who receives the most votes is declared the winner.
  • Proportional Representation System: According to this system, the number of votes is proportionally distributed among the members of the legislature. It functions well for a multi-party system like that in India, where each party is given weight regardless of its size and the overall number of votes it receives.

Electoral Process of India

In India, elections are performed in accordance with the legal process. The technique described below is followed:

  • Notification for Election- When the President in the case of the Lok Sabha and the Governor in the case of the State Assembly issues a notification for the election, on the advice of the Election Commission, the election process formally begins. Candidates have seven days to submit their nominations.
  • Filing of Nomination- The nomination paper must be submitted in the proper format and include the candidate’s name, age, postal address, and electoral roll serial number. At least two voters who are enrolled in the concerned constituency must properly propose and second the candidate.
  • Deposition of Security Deposit- Each applicant is required to submit a security deposit when submitting their nomination. If the candidate does not receive at least 1/6 of all legitimate votes cast, the security deposit is lost.
  • Scrutiny and Withdrawal- On the day set by the Election Commission, the Returning Officer examines each nomination form she receives. This is done to make sure that all paperwork is completed in accordance with the established protocol and is accompanied by the necessary security deposit. A nomination paper may be rejected by the returning officer. The last day for candidates to withdraw is the second day following the examination of nomination papers.
  • Election Campaign- The process by which a candidate seeks to convince voters to support him as opposed to other candidates is called campaigning. All recognized national and regional parties now have free access to state-owned electronic media, including All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan, to conduct their election campaigning.

Rajya Sabha Elections

Rajya Sabha has a process of indirect elections where the State governments select members as per the proportion of seats available. The seats in Rajya sabha are allocated according to the proportion of the population.

  • Uttar Pradesh has the most seats allocated in the Rajya Sabha because it has the largest population. In contrast, states like Nagaland and Mizoram are sparsely populated and have one seat.
  • Rajya Sabha can never be dissolved, and the members are elected for six years.
  • They are elected every two years by one-third of the members whose term of 6 years gets completed.

The indirect method is followed where members from the state’s legislative assembly elect the members of the Rajya sabha.

Lok Sabha Elections – Parliamentary General Elections

The adult citizens of the country elect the members of the Lok Sabha. These candidates contest together in their relevant constituencies. All adult citizens can vote in their respective constituencies.

  • A candidate who gets elected holds their seat for five years. They are called the Members of Parliament.
  • Elections take place once every five years.
  • 543 members for the Lok Sabha (Lower House) are selected. A total of 131 seats (24.03%) are reserved for representatives of Scheduled Castes (84) and Scheduled Tribes (47).
  • The quorum used for the House is 10% of the entire membership.

The Lok Sabha, unless dissolved, prolongs to function for five years from the date selected for its first meeting. When a proclamation of emergency is in process, this period might be expanded by Parliament House by law or decree.

State Assembly Elections (Vidhan Sabha)

Candidates who can win the Elections of the State Legislative Assembly are called ‘Members of the Legislative Assembly.’

  • The maximum number of members of the legislative assembly is 500, and the minimum strength of the legislative assembly is 60.
  • A candidate who gets elected holds their seat for five years.

Zila Panchayat Elections

Zila Parishad is the third tier of the Indian Panchayati Raj system.

  • The members of the State Legislature and the Indian parliament members comprise the members of the Zila Parishad.
  • Zila Parishad has a maximum count of 75 members and a minimum count of 50 members.
  • It is headed by the President and a Vice-President, elected among the members.
  • An IAS officer is the chief executive officer of the administration setup of the Zila Parishad.

After its freedom, India has performed as a respectable democracy. The global society has acknowledged this as well. It has effectively evolved under difficult environments. From Gram Panchayat to the Presidency, relatively frequent votes for every political position have been held openly and transparently.

Role of the Election Commission

India’s federal agency, the Election Commission, was established in accordance with the Constitution’s requirements and is in charge of overseeing and conducting all fair elections in the country. ECI is in charge of ensuring impartial, fair, and free elections.

To guarantee free and fair elections in the nation, Article 324 of the Constitution establishes an independent Election Commission. The election commission controls members’ behavior before, during, and after elections in accordance with the law.

Importance of Types of Elections in India

Different Types of Elections in India offer options for political engagement and leadership. Through this, a citizen can also express their displeasure towards the ruling party, and it also functions as a self-regulatory mechanism. Through this system, the ruling parties are held in check and forced to take the needs of the general population into consideration every five years.

Let us inform you that the Electoral Process of India is covered in Articles 324 to 329 of Part XV of the Constitution.

The universal adult franchise will be used as the foundation for both the Lok Sabha and state assembly elections. As a result, anyone who is an Indian citizen and is 18 years old is eligible to vote in the election as long as they are not barred from doing so by the Constitution’s provisions or any laws passed by the relevant legislature due to lack of residency, mental incapacity, crime, or corrupt or illegal activity.

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