The State Election Commission is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering elections to the 3rd tier of governance i.e. the Local Self Government, which includes the Panchayati Raj Institutions and the Urban Local Bodies.
Before 1992, elections to these bodies were conducted by the respective State Governments. The Constitution was amended in 1992 through the 73rd and 74th amendments in order to provide legal sanctity to the Local Self-Governments (LSGs), giving LSGs their rightful place in the process of nation building.
Article 243 K & Article 243 ZA were inserted to establish a State Election Commission in every state as a constitutional body with powers of 'superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to the Panchayats and Municipalities in the State. In Maharashtra, State Election Commission (SECM) was established on 26th April 1994 following the 73rd & 74th Amendments.
State Election Commission consists of a State Election Commissioner, who is appointed by the Governor for a fixed tenure of 5 years and cannot be removed from his office except in like manner and on the like grounds as a Judge of a High Court.
As per the constitutional provision, 'superintendence, direction and control of the conduct of Elections to Urban & Rural Local bodies vest in State Election Commission.
As per the provisions of the different Local Body Acts of the State, State Election Commission does not prepare a separate voter's list for the local body elections but uses the voter's lists prepared by the Election Commission of India under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1950, by bifurcating the same to represent the relevant wards of the local bodies concerned.
Since 2015, voter's lists for all elections get bifurcated through a software for which soft data is provided by the Chief Electoral Officer Maharashtra, who works as the representative of ECI.
The State Election Commission is also responsible for doing delimitation of all the constituencies, which is done before every general election to the local bodies i.e. after every 5 years.
The State Election Commission is also empowered to register and deregister political parties in the state. Since 2005, State Election Commission, Maharashtra has made it compulsory for all political parties (including parties registered with ECI) to register with SECM for setting up Candidates at the local body elections.
State Election Commission ensures a level playing field for the political parties in the election fray, through strict observance by them of a Model Code of Conduct evolved with the consensus of political parties