Originally in 1950, the commission had only a Chief Election Commissioner. Two additional Commissioners were appointed to the commission for the first time on 16 October 1989 but they had a very short tenure, ending on 1 January 1990. The Election Commissioner Amendment Act, 1989 made the Commission a multi-member body. The concept of a 3-member Commission has been in operation since then, with the decisions being made by a majority vote. The Chief Election Commissioner and the two Election Commissioners who are usually retired IAS officers draw salaries and allowances as per with those of the Judges of the Supreme Court of India as per the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Conditions of Service) Rules, 1992.
One of the most important features of the democratic policy is elections at regular intervals. Holding periodic free and fair elections are essentials of a democratic system and a part of the basic structure of the Constitution. The Election Commission is regarded as the guardian of elections in the country. In every election, it issues a Model code of Conduct for political parties and candidates to conduct elections in a free and fair manner. The Commission issued the code for the first time in 1971 for the 5th Lok Sabha elections and revised it from time to time.
It lays down guidelines for the conduct of political parties and candidates during an election period. However, there have been instances of violation of the code by various political parties with complaints being received for misuse of official machinery by the candidates. The code does not have any specific statutory basis but only a persuasive effect.It contains the rules of electoral morality. However, this lack of statutory backing does not prevent the Commission from enforcing it.
The election commission has the right to allow symbols to the political parties. It gives recognition to the national parties, state parties and regional parties. It set limits on poll expenses. The commission prepare electoral rolls and update the voter’s list from time to time. Notifications of dates and schedules of election for filing nominations are issued by the commission. It is noteworthy that Election commission cannot allot same symbol to two regional political parties even if they are not in the same state