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Election Commission Released COVID Guidelines for General Election/ Bye Elections to Legislative Assemblies

 ECI’s COVID Guidelines for Elections- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: Governance, Administration and Challenges
    • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Election Commission Released COVID Guidelines for General Election/ Bye Elections to Legislative Assemblies_3.1


ECI’s COVID Guidelines for Elections in News

  • Recently, the Election Commission of India held meeting with concerned authorities of Union, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh government to review COVID situation, Vaccination Status, exiting guidelines/directions of SDMA, arrangement for COVID during upcoming festive season etc.
  • The term of State Assemblies of Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat are due to expire on 8th January, 2023 and 18th February, 2023 respectively.


Constitutional Mandate of ECI to Conduct State Assembly Elections

  • Election Commission of India (hereinafter ECI) is committed to conduct free, fair, participative, accessible, inclusive and safe election to the Legislative Assemblies of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh before the cessation of its term.
  • ECI will conduct these elections in exercise of the authority and powers conferred upon it under Article 324 read with Article 172 (1) of the Constitution of India and Section 15 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.


ECI’s COVID Guidelines for Elections

General Guidelines to be followed during entire election processes for all persons

  • All person involved are advised to follow COVID appropriate behavior during election related activities.
  • All eligible Polling Personnel/Security Personnel/Counting Staff shall be fully and preferably with booster dose vaccinated before deploying/engaging in election related activities.
  • Create awareness among the public for COVID appropriate behavior including self.


Campaign by the political parties/contesting candidates/Others

  • During Outdoor meeting/indoor meetings/ Rallies/Road Shows/Pad-Yatras/Processions, the organisers and concerned political parties shall abide by the guidelines, if any issued by competent authorities, and ensure prescribed COVID appropriate behaviour by persons participating.
    • Organisers will be responsible for any breach of the COVID related protocols and guidelines.
  • Political Parties/candidates may hold their meetings and rallies, Road show, Pad-yatra and procession, Door to Door campaign etc subject prior permission of the all concerned authorities and instant instruction of the Commission in the matter.
  • Allocation of public spaces must be done using Suvidha app in the manner already prescribed by Commission.


Polling Station Arrangements-

  • Commission has issued detailed instructions for assured minimum facilities at each polling station. Now, in view of COVID, following additional facilities/steps may be taken, as required:
    • Help Desk for distribution of token to the voters on first come first basis so that they do not wait in the queue.
    • Marker to demonstrate social distancing for queue.
    • Distance for voters standing in the queue would be maintained as per COVID norms, if any, prescribed by the competent authority and depending on the availability of space.
    • The services of BLOs, volunteers etc may be engaged to monitor and regulate social distancing norms, as prescribed by competent authority.
    • One shaded waiting areas with chairs, dari etc. will be provided, for male and female separately, within the polling station premises so that voters can participate in voting without safety concerns.
    • Wherever possible, Booth App may be used at the polling station.
    • Awareness posters on COVID should be displayed at visible locations as per norms prescribed by the competent authority.
  • COVID patients and all other who may be under quarantine will be allowed to cast their vote at the last hour of the poll day at their respective Polling Stations, under the supervision of health authorities, strictly following COVID-19 related preventive measures.
    • Sector Magistrates shall coordinate this activity in their allocated polling stations.


Postal Ballot

  • Option of Postal Ballot facility has also been extended to the Electors who are COVID positive/suspect and in quarantine(home/institutional).


Counting of votes

  • There shall be maximum 15 Counting Tables (including RO’s Table) for counting of votes of a constituency as per Commission’s existing instructions dated 30th April,
  • No public gathering outside the counting venue during process of counting shall be permitted.
  • Candidate may appoint/replace counting agents in case COVID report is positive.


Constitutional provisions

  • Part XV of the Indian constitution: deals with elections, and establishes a commission for these matters.
  • Article 324 to 329 of the constitution: deals with powers, function, tenure, eligibility, etc. of the commission and the member.


                                              Articles related to Elections
324 Superintendence, direction, and control of elections to be vested in an Election Commission.
325 No person to be ineligible for inclusion in, or to claim to be included in a special, electoral roll on grounds of religion, race, caste, or sex.
326 Elections to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assemblies of States to be on the basis of adult suffrage.
327 Power of Parliament to make provision with respect to elections to Legislatures.
328 Power of Legislature of a State to make provision with respect to elections to such Legislature.
329 Bar to interference by courts in electoral matters.


Election Commission of India (ECI)

Election Commission of India (ECI)

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