The electoral system of India is largely based on the British pattern. The Constitution did not provide any details about the electoral system and left it to the Parliament to determine. Accordingly, Parliament passed several laws to regulate the electoral system. Some prominent laws enacted by the Parliament for this purpose include the Representation of People’s Act 1950; Representation of People’s Act 1951; Presidential and Vice-Presidential Election Act, 1952; Delimitation Act 1952, etc.
The salient features of the Indian electoral system, besides universal adult franchise, are:
- There is a provision for reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes; these members are elected through joint electorate.
- Representation is based on the Territorial Principle. There is common electoral roll for each constituency.
- Elections are held based on single member constituencies and only one representative is elected from each constituency.
- There is provision for election petitions to resolve the dispute regarding elections. The aggrieved candidates can file petitions in the High Court or the Supreme Court and if the court finds the charge correct, the election is declared invalid.