The Election Commission of India on Wednesday supported a petition in the Supreme Court that seeks a ban on a candidate contesting an election from more than one constituency, which often leads to a by-election after an aspirant wins both the seats.
The Representation of People’s Act allows a candidate to contest the Lok Sabha or assembly election from two constituencies simultaneously. A public interests litigation (PIL) filed by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay wants this provision, section 33(7) of the poll law, to be scrapped.
“The commission is of the view that the law should be amended to provide that a person cannot contest from more than one constituency at a time,” the poll panel said in its affidavit, a copy of which is with the Hindustan Times.
If the legislature was in favour of the provision then an amendment should be made in the law asking the person who wins both the seats to foot the bill for the bypoll, which would be necessitated as the lawmaker would have to vacate one seat, the affidavit said.
The election commission had in 2004 pegged this amount at Rs 5 lakh for assembly election and Rs 10 lakh for a Lok Sabha bypoll. The figure could be proportionately enhanced in case the court were to accept the proposal, it said.
The poll panel also cited the 255th report of the law commission to seek the change. The law commission said in view of the expenditure, time, election fatigue and harassment caused to the voters, section 33(7) should be changed to allow one candidate one constituency.
But the affidavit also said the suggestion, one of the 22 poll reforms proposed by it in 2004, was shot down by a parliamentary panel, which was in favour of allowing candidates to contest from two constituencies.
The country’s top law officer attorney general KK Venugopal has agreed to assist the Supreme Court in the case.