Contesting elections from two seats

JUN 14

Preliminary   > Polity   >   Election   >   Elections

Why in news?

  • Recently, the Election Commission of India asked the Union Law Ministry to consider limiting the seats from which a candidate can contest to just one.

Who has the power in this regard?

  • Constitution allows the Parliament to make provisions in all matters relating to elections to the Parliament and State Legislatures.
  • In accordance, the Parliament has enacted the following laws:
    • Representation of the People Act 1950.
    • Representation of the People Act 1951.
    • Delimitation Commission Act of 1952

Section 33(7) of RPA 1951:

  • Section 33(7) of the Representation of People’s Act permits a candidate to contest any election (Parliamentary, State Assembly, Biennial Council, or bye-elections) from up to two constituencies.
  • The provision was introduced in 1996 prior to which there was no bar on the number of constituencies from which a candidate could contest.
  • Section 70 bars candidates from representing two constituencies in the Lok Sabha/state.

Why EC wants to scrap Section 33(7) of RPA 1951?

  • Burden on public exchequer:
    • When a candidate contests from two seats, it is imperative that he has to vacate one of the two seats if he wins both.
    • It cause financial burden on the public exchequer, government manpower and other resources for holding bye-election.
  • Injustice to the voters of the constituency
    • Which the candidate is quitting from.

Add ons:

  • The ECI has alternatively suggested that if existing provisions are retained then the candidate contesting from two seats should bear the cost of the bye-election to the seat that the contestant decides to vacate.
  • In 2017, Supreme Court held that the practice of one candidate contesting multiple seats was a drain on the exchequer since it necessitated bypolls


Consider the following statements:

1. Representation of People’s Act permits a candidate to contest an election from any number of seats at the same time.

2. Constitution allows State Legislatures to make provisions in matters relating to elections to State Legislatures

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2