A deconstruction of the Election Commission
The Election Commission – an oft-misunderstood and sometimes disliked body, is an embodiment of a universal truth: the arm of the law is mistrusted no matter what.
From the campus administration’s point of view, the Election Commission is an ‘independent body’ – which means their activities bypass the Student Union’s purview for obvious reasons. When I talked to one of the newer recruits of the EC, he defined a three-way structure of operation, inspired by the Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary of a Parliamentary Democracy. The primary motivation of the EC is defined by the free-and-fair maxim: free, meaning every voter is free to choose from an open pool of candidates; and fair, meaning that this choice is independently and directly converted into a vote, with every vote bearing equal weight. Free-and-fair also encompasses the candidates’ point of view: one is free to contest in an election, and every contestant has equal rights and responsibilities.
Firstly, the EC creates rules that enforce this free-and-fairness vis-a-vis certain requirements put forward by the campus authorities themselves. This could be compared to the Legislative, the rule-making body. Secondly, the EC enforces these rules and deals with complaints that are received. This could be compared to the Judiciary, the rule-enforcing body. Thirdly, the EC conducts elections – sets dates, reviews candidates, compiles manifestos, counts votes – in a free-and-fair manner. This could be compared to the executive.
The rules vary from obvious, such as “no anti-campaigning”, to seemingly pointless, such as “no online campaigning”, to oh-god-thank-you-so-much-for-these, such as “no campaigning after midnight”, to necessary-due-to-history, such as “the candidate must be physically present while campaigning goes on”, to the-ones-nobody-cares-about, such as “carry a permission slip while campaigning”.
The EC has come out with a notice containing all the rules applicable for the current election, clearly mentioning the pool of candidates. On top of that, the EC, in conversation with the reporter, mentioned the following vital rules that needed to be reiterated online:
- No negative campaigning. No anti-campaigning.
- No campaign can extend after 2230 hrs in Krishna Bhawan, and after midnight in any other Bhawan.
- No campaigning is allowed without a campaigning slip.
- Only the two girls appointed by the Election Commission (one for Meera Bhawan and one for Malaviya Bhawan) are allowed to campaign inside the respective hostels on behalf of a candidate.
- No campaigning on any online forum.
If you think any of these rules, or any other rules (a copy of all the rules is available with the Election Commission) is being violated, type down a complaint letter, clearly stating your name, the candidate’s name, the time, the place and the rule which is being violated. First, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and then, print it out, sign it, and hand it over to in person to either Arvind Sunder, Pranav Kabra, Akanksha Deswal, Vishesh Vishwani, VVN Harshitha or Manmay Kulkarni. Do note that while you are required to state your name in the complaint, anonymity will be maintained by the EC.
Hopefully, this has deconstructed any myths that you might have had about the EC.
‘So, I guess what I’m really saying is, don’t stop believing, and let’s get this party started.’
– Arvind Badri
P.S.: A reader suggested that it be made clearer what I meant by ‘rules’. EC helps enforce the constitution, and acts as the interpreter of the constitution during times of elections, by creating campaigning rules such as the ones mentioned in the article.