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Election Commission Supports One Candidate-One Seat PIL in Supreme Court

Under the existing legal regime, a candidate is allowed to contest from up to a maximum of two constituencies in Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly polls.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:April 4, 2018, 2:37 PM IST
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Election Commission Supports One Candidate-One Seat PIL in Supreme Court
File Photo of Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat. (Image: PTI)
New Delhi: The Election Commission has supported a PIL in the Supreme Court that seeks a restraint on candidates against contesting from more than one seat.

Under the existing legal regime, a candidate is allowed to contest from up to a maximum of two constituencies in Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly polls.

In the 2014 general elections, BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi had contested from two seats — Vadodara and Varanasi. He later retained Varanasi.

Filing an affidavit, EC has now said that the Representation of the People Act should be amended to restrict a candidate to contest from one seat.

According to the commission, it conveyed its views to the Central government twice in the past when it sent its proposals in 2004 and 2016. EC said that letting a candidate contest from two seats is an "avoidable and unnecessary" burden on public exchequer.

It is also injustice to voters of the winning candidate who opts to vacate that constituency and retain another, maintained the commission in its affidavit.

The affidavit asserted that the EC stands firm on its proposals sent to the government, which have not been acted upon so far.

EC further said that its stand has been supported also by the Law Commission in its 255th Report on Electoral Reforms, which has also found it inappropriate for a candidate to contest from two constituencies.

The Commission has also said that in case the top court thinks that such a restraint is not required, an express provision should be made in the RP Act to ensure that the candidate is made to pay for the re-poll for the constituency he opts to quit.

In 2004, the EC had proposed that the candidate should be asked to shell out Rs 5 lakh in case of a legislative assembly seat and Rs 10 lakh for the Lok Sabha seat.

The Commission's response has come to a PIL filed by Supreme Court lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay.

On Wednesday, the case came up for hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

The counsel for the EC submitted that their stand is on affidavit. Attorney General KK Venugopal also appeared and agreed to assist the Court.

However, the Central government has yet not clarified its stand on the matter as to whether it is agreeable to such a restriction or not. It sought time to file the affidavit and the bench adjourned the case after six weeks.

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| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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