No bar on contesting two seats in one poll

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Source: The post is based on the article “No bar on contesting two seats in one pollpublished in The Hindu on 3rd February 2023

What is the News?

The Supreme Court has refused to set aside a provision in the election law which allows candidates to contest polls from two constituencies simultaneously.

What was the case about?

A petition was filed in the Supreme Court to declare Section 33(7) of the Representation of People Act invalid and ultra vires.

Note: As per Section 33(7) of the RPA (Representation of the People Act), 1951, one candidate can contest from a maximum of two constituencies.

What is the government’s stand on one candidate contesting from two seats?

The Union Government had argued that law cannot curtail the right of a candidate to contest elections and curtail the polity’s choice of candidates.

The government had further told the Supreme Court that one-candidate-one-constituency restriction would require a legislative amendment.

What are the concerns associated with one candidate contesting from two seats?

When a person contests election from two constituencies and wins from both, then he/she vacates the seat in one of the two constituencies.

The consequence is that a by-election would be required from one constituency involving avoidable expenditure on the conduct of that by-election.

What are the suggestions of the Election commission on one candidate contesting from two seats?

Election Commission has suggested:

The law should be amended to provide that a person cannot contest from more than one constituency at a time or 

The candidate should deposit an amount of ₹5 lakh for contesting in two constituencies in an Assembly election or ₹10 lakh in a general election. The amount would be used to cover the expenses for a by-election in the eventuality that he or she was victorious in both constituencies and had to relinquish one.

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