Election law

Indian election glossary

1. Assistant Electoral Registration Officer: The Election Commission may appoint one or more persons as Assistant Electoral Registration Officers to assist an Electoral Registration Officer to prepare the electoral roll of the Constituency under his charge. Every Assistant Electoral Registration Officer shall, subject to the control of Electoral Registration Officer, be competent to perform all or any of the functions of Electoral Registration Officer.

2. Assistant Returning Officer: The Election Commission may appoint one or more persons as Assistant Returning Officer to assist a Returning Officer in conduct of election for the Constituency under his charge. Every Assistant Returning Officer shall, subject to the control of Returning Officer, be competent to perform the functions assigned in the statutes.

3. Booth Capturing: Booth capturing means unauthorized casting of votes by some person other than the genuine voter either by intimidating or threatening the polling officials to surrender the ballot papers or by preventing the voters from going to the polling stations.

4. Booth Level Officer: Booth Level Officer is a local Government/SemiGovernment
official, familiar with the local electors and generally a voter in the same polling area, who assists in updating the roll using his local knowledge. He, under the overall supervision of Electoral Registration Officer, is responsible for field verification, collection of information/data regarding electors and preparation of roll of a part of electoral roll in respect of the polling area, assigned to him.

5. Bribery: Bribery may be described as an inducement to a person, by wrong means, to do or not to do a thing which he may otherwise have not done or done. In the context of elections, bribery is the most common and rampant form of corrupt practice. It is any gift, offer or promise by a candidate or his agent or by any other person with the consent of a candidate or any election agent, with the object of inducing a person to stand or not to stand

6. Chief Electoral Officer: Chief Electoral Officer is an officer of the State Government, who supervises the work relating to preparation of electoral roll and conduct of all elections to Parliament and the Legislature of the State, subject to the overall superintendence, direction and control of the Election Commission.

7. Constituency: As amended from time to time, the Delimitation Order defines the territorial extent of each Assembly Constituency and the Parliamentary Constituency. A number of Assembly Constituencies comprise a Parliamentary Constituency. All Assembly and Parliamentary Constituencies are territorial, i.e. have fixed geographical boundaries. An exception is the Sangha Assembly Constituency in Sikkim which comprises of monks residing in recognized monasteries all over the State of Sikkim.

8. Corrupt Practice: A corrupt practice is committed by a candidate, or by someone else with his consent. It has effect of vitiating the whole election and can result in the said election being declared void. Corrupt practices at elections are specified in Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

9. District Election Officer: The Election Commission designates the head of district administration, variously known as Collector, Deputy Commissioner or District Magistrate, as District Election Officer of the district concerned. Subject to the superintendence, direction and control of Chief Electoral Officer, District Election Officer shall coordinate and supervise all work in the district or in the area within his jurisdiction in connection with the preparation and revision of the electoral rolls, and conduct of elections to all Parliamentary, Assembly and Council Constituencies within the district. District Election Officer is responsible for providing polling stations and the publication of the list of polling stations and for providing polling staff at elections.

10. Election Manifesto: An election manifesto is a published document containing declaration of the ideology, intentions, views, policies and programmes of a political party, keeping an eye, in particular, on forthcoming elections and published and publicized on the eve of elections.

11. Electoral Offence: Electoral offence is a criminal act relatable to an election
specified under the Indian Penal Code. Commission of an electoral offence can
be taken cognizance of as soon as it is committed in the same manner in which
any other criminal activity is investigated and tried.

12. Electoral Registration Officer: For the purpose of preparation and revision
of electoral rolls of a constituency, the Election Commission, in consultation
with the Government of the State, designates/nominates an officer of the State
Government concerned, as Electoral Registration Officer. Electoral Registration
Officer is the statutory authority to prepare the electoral roll of the Constituency
under his charge.

13. Electoral Roll: Ordinarily known as ‘voter list’, electoral roll is a list of persons
registered as electors residing in a constituency. For proper management,
electoral roll of a constituency is divided into several parts which contain details
of electors of the corresponding polling areas.

14. EPIC: Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC) is issued by Electoral Registration
Officer to all electors registered in the electoral roll of the Assembly Constituency
under him, for establishing the identity of the concerned elector at the time of

15. False Statement: False statement is publication by a candidate or his agent
or any other person with consent of the candidate or his election agent, of any
statement of fact which is false or not true, in relation to personal character or
conduct of any candidate calculated to prejudice the prospects of that candidate’s

16. Freebie: Freebie is ‘something given without charge’. In common parlance,
freebies are the promises of giving certain tangible materials such as bicycles,
laptops, TVs or facilities like electricity connection, water connection or food
grains on nominal price or without any cost to a targete

19. Inducement: Inducement is persuasion, promise and gratification offered
through a third person, direct or indirect, to a voter to vote or refrain from
voting. The voter may not be a direct party in the bargain between the candidate/
his election agent and the third person but must be shown to have an indirect
interest in it.

20. Model Code of Conduct: The Model Code of Conduct is a set of norms
for guidance of political parties and candidates during election period, evolved
with the consensus of political parties. The Election Commission ensures its
observance by political parties including the ruling parties and candidates during
the period of elections so that nobody can disturb the level playing field for all
political parties involved in the electoral process.

21. Party in Power: The party in power is the political party which is in government
at the center or in the state. The Model Code of Conduct intends that no action
should be taken by a party in power in close proximity to the date on which
the elections are announced so as to derive any benefit therefrom during the

22. Photo Voter Slips: For convenience of voters on day of poll, pre-printed official
voter slips, containing photograph of voter and details available in the photo roll
such as Number and Name of Constituency, Part No., Name, Gender, EPIC
No., Relatives name, Serial No., Polling Station No. and Name and Date, Day
and Time of poll, are distributed to all enrolled voters by District Administration.
Photo Voter Slips are duly authenticated by Electoral Registration Officer and
distributed through Booth Level Officer as per the schedule for distribution
prepared by Returning Officer. The undistributed Photo Voter Slips shall be
kept by Booth Level Officer. No photocopy of Photo Voter Slip is allowed for
distribution purpose. Any unauthorized distribution/possession of Photo Voter
Slip shall be considered as violation of provisions of the Representation of the
People Act, 1951 and Indian Penal Code.

23. Polling Station: Polling station is the room/hall fixed for holding poll where
the electors of the concerned polling area cast their votes on the day of poll. It is
also referred to as ‘polling booth’.

24. Returning Officer: The Election Commission, in consultation with
the Government of the State, designates/nominates an officer of the State
Government concerned, as Returning Officer for a constituency for election to
State Legislature or Parliament.

25. Screening Committee: To examine references of Model Code of Conduct
from various departments of State Government, a Screening Committee is
constituted in every State during elections. The Screening Committee is headed
by Chief Secretary and consisted of two other members. After clearance from the
Screening Committee, the Model Code references are sent for the approval of
the Election Commission through the Chief Electoral Officer of that State.

26. SVEEP: Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) is
a programme initiated by the Election Commission in 2011 to increase voter
awareness and facilitate electoral participation through voter registration and
turnout in the youths, women, tribal and other marginalized sections of the

27. Threat of Divine Displeasure/Spiritual Censure: Any inducement or
attempt to induce electors to believe that they would become object of divine
displeasure or spiritual censure, if they cast votes or refrain from casting votes in
favour of a particular candidate.

28. Threat of Injury: The most common form of undue influence is to force a
voter to vote or not for a particular candidate, or not to vote in an election at all
by making threats of physical injury in case of any defiance of such dictate. Such
threats of physical injury may not be confined only to the voter concerned but
may also be directed against the third person, like, members of voter’s family or
any relatives or friends.

29. Undue Influence: Undue Influence, a major corrupt practice, implies to any
direct or indirect interference or attempt to interfere on the part of a candidate
or his election agent, with the free exercise of any electoral right. It amounts to a
threatening to any candidates or any elector or any person in whom the candidate
or elector is interested with injury of any kind including social ostracism and
excommunication or expulsion from any caste or community.

30. Vehicle: It means any vehicle used or capable of being used for the purpose
of road transport, whether propelled by mechanical power or otherwise. An
‘office vehicle’ will cover all vehicles belonging to the (i) Central Government,
(ii) State Government/UT Administrations, (iii) Public Section Undertakings
of the Central and State governments, (iv) Joint Sector Undertakings of
Central and State Governments, (v) Local Bodies, (vi) Municipal Corporations,
(vii) Municipalities, (viii) Marketing Boards (by whatever name known), (ix)
Cooperative Societies, (x) Autonomous District Councils or any other body in
which public funds, howsoever small a portion of the total, are invested and
also include those belonging to the Ministry of Defence and the Central Public
Organizations under the Ministry of Home Affairs and State Governments.