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Parliament Part 2- System of Elections to Lok Sabha

Lok Sabha Elections | Parliament Part 2- System of Elections to Lok Sabha

  • The members of Parliament (MPs) are elected/appointed from states, union territories or are appointed from a field of particular expertise. The elections to Lok Sabha occur every 5 years in the name of general elections.
  • The Indian Constitution has adopted universal adult franchise as a basis of elections to the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies.

Representation of States in Lok Sabha:

  • Members are directly elected by the people from the territorial constituencies in the states
  • Election Principle used – Universal Adult Franchise
  • Eligibility to Vote: Any Indian Citizen of/above 18 years of age
  • Voting age was reduced from 21 to 18 years by the 61st Constitutional Amendment Act, 1988.

Representation of Union Territories in Lok Sabha:

  • Parliament is empowered to choose the members from the UTs in any manner as it desires
  • Election Principle used – Direct Election
  • Union Territories (Direct Election to the House of the People) Act, 1965, has been enacted by which the members of Lok Sabha from the union territories are chosen by direct election.

Representation of Nominated Members in Lok Sabha:

  • President nominates 2 members from Anglo-Indian Community if they are not adequately represented.
  • The provision to nominate Anglo-Indians was extended till 2020 by 95th Amendment Act, 2009.

Facts about Lok Sabha elections | Parliament Part 2- System of Elections to Lok Sabha

  • 1st Lok Sabha Election took place in 1952. There were 489 seats elected. Congress won 364 out of 489 seats. Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister.
  • In 1952, only 22 women were elected while in 2014, 49 women candidates were elected.
  • 2019 Lok Sabha elections were country’s 17th General Elections. Elections took place for 552 seats. BJP won 303 seats out of 552. Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister.
  • Elections to Lok Sabha are carried out using a first-past-the-post electoral system.

Who is Lok Sabha Speaker?

  • The speaker of Lok Sabha is a member who elected from amongst the members of the house. He chairs the house and no proceedings in the house take place in his absence.

Facts about Lok Sabha Speaker

  • 1st Lok Sabha Speaker – Ganesh Vasudev Mavalankar (1952-1956) (died in the office)
  • Ananthasayanam Ayyanagar was elected as Lok Sabha Speaker in 1956 who worked till 1957
  • After 16th Lok Sabha elections, Ms Sumitra Mahajan was elected as the Lok Sabha speaker
  • Following 17th Lok Sabha elections (2019 General Elections), Om Birla is the speaker of Lok Sabha.

Lok Sabha Constituencies

  • For the purpose of holding direct elections to the Lok Sabha, each state is divided into territorial constituencies. There are 543 constituencies in India that take part in Lok Sabha elections.
    • In this respect, the Constitution makes the following two provisions:
      • Each state is allotted a number of seats in the Lok Sabha in such a manner that the ratio between that number and its population is the same for all states. This provision does not apply to a state having a population of less than six millions.
      • Each state is divided into territorial constituencies in such a manner that the ratio between the population of each constituency and the number of seats allotted to it is the same throughout the state.
    • In brief, the Constitution ensures that there is uniformity of representation in two respects:
      • between the different states, and
      • between the different constituencies in the same state.
      • The expression ‘population’ means the population as ascertained at the preceding census of which the relevant figures have been published.

Reservation of Seats for SCs and STs | Parliament Part 2- System of Elections to Lok Sabha

  • Though the Constitution has abandoned the system of communal representation, it provides for the reservation of seats for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in the Lok Sabha on the basis of population ratios.
  • Originally, this reservation was to operate for ten years (ie, up to 1960), but it has been extended continuously since then by 10 years each time. Now, under the 95th Amendment Act of 2009, this reservation is to last until 2020.
  • Though seats are reserved for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, they are elected by all the voters in a constituency, without any separate electorate. A member of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes is also not debarred from contesting a general (non-reserved) seat.
  • The 84th Amendment Act of 2001 provided for refixing of the reserved seats on the basis of the population figures of 1991 census as applied to rationalisation of the general seats. Later, the 87th Amendment Act of 2003 provided for the refixing of the reserved seats on the basis of 2001 census and not 1991 census.

First-Past-The-Post System

  • Though the Constitution has adopted the system of proportional representation in the case of Rajya Sabha, it has not preferred the same system in the case of Lok Sabha. Instead, it has adopted the system of territorial representation (First-past-the-post system) for the election of members to the Lok Sabha.
  • Under territorial representation, every member of the legislature represents a geographical area known as a constituency. From each constituency, only one representative is elected. Hence such a constituency is known as single-member constituency. In this system, a candidate who secures majority of votes is declared elected. This simple majority system of representation does not represent the whole electorate. In other words, it does not secure due representation to minorities (small groups).
  • The system of proportional representation aims at removing the defects of territorial representation. Under this system, all sections of the people get representation in proportion to their number. Even the smallest section of the population gets its due share of representation in the legislature.
  • There are two kinds of proportional representation, namely, single transferable vote system and list system. In India, the first kind is adopted for the election of members to the Rajya Sabha and state legislative council and for electing the President and the Vice-President.

Though some members of the Constituent Assembly had advocated the system of proportional representation for the election of members to the Lok Sabha, the Constitution has not adopted the system due to two reasons.

  • Difficulty for the voters to understand the system (which is complicated) due to low literacy scale in the country.
  • Unsuitability to the parliamentary government due to the tendency of the system to multiply political parties leading to instability in government.

Additionally, the system of proportional representation has the following demerits:

  • It is highly expensive.
  • It does not give any scope for organising by-elections.
  • It eliminates intimate contacts between voters and representatives.
  • It promotes minority thinking and group interests.
  • It increases the significance of party system and decreases
  • that of voter.

 

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