The popular/political participation, liberty and equality are the cornerstones of democracy. However, these do not come about automatically. There have to be instrumentalities/mechanisms in place to ensure the tangible presence of the key elements of democracy mentioned above.
Insofar as the first attribute popular/political participation is concerned there is full-fledged election machinery the Election Commission established by the Constitution to ensure the citizens’ popular/political participation without fear or favour. Popular/political participation in a modern, liberal democracy entails the capability to elect one’s representatives through periodic elections to state and central legislatures (State Assemblies and Parliament respectively).
This task involves a series of multifarious activities such as preparating/updating of voters’ list, preparing electoral rolls, ballot papers etc. It has also within its ambit the vital task of ensuing that the various persons contesting in elections as people’s representatives do not violate the ‘Model Code of Conduct’ laid down by the Election Commission from time to time.
The Election Commission is a statutory, fully autonomous body established by the Constitution of the land to oversee the elections for the Indian Parliament and the State Assemblies. Its independence of functioning has been ensured by a number of provisions. In more than six decades since independence, the Election Commission has played a significant role in ensuring free and fair polls.
Thus, ensuring liberty and equality in the electoral arena we have now covered the formal governmental institutions involved in the democratic process in a Liberal Parliamentary Democracy like India’s. We now come to non-state actors (a term used here, we only for want of a better word) associated with the democratic process in India.