New Delhi: Can one contests from more than one seat in general elections? This is the question that has come before the Supreme Court for adjudication.
The apex court on Wednesday, while taking up the petition, said that it would hear on the petition after two weeks.
BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhya has filed the petition seeking direction to restrict candidate from contesting from more than one seat in a general election.
A bench of Justices SA Bobde, MM Shantanagoudar and S Abdul Nazeer has said, ” List after two weeks before appropriate bench”, when matter was mentioned for early listing of the plea.
Earlier, filing an affidavit in the apex court, the Election Commission (EC) had quoted its 2004 proposals on electoral remofrms and said that law should be amended to ensure that a person cannot contest from more than one seat. The EC proposal to bar candidates from contesting from more than one seat was rejected by a parliamentary standing committee way back in 1998, which had taken note of the view of an all-party meeting favouring to retain the provision.
As regards the proposal of the Election Commission of India that there should be an express provision in law requiring a person who contests and wins election from two seats, resulting in a bye-election from one of the two constituencies, to deposit in the government account an appropriate amount of money being the expenditure for holding bye-election, it is further stated that the amount proposed at that point of time was Rs 5 lakh for state Assembly and Rs 10 lakh for election to the House of People.
EC submitted that there was no change in its stand on this proposal but the amount proposed in the year 2004 may be enhanced appropriately.
Petitioner Upadhya has mentioned that presence of independent candidates is oftened connected with the issue of fragmentation of votes and instability in the electoral system while referring to the Law Commission’s 170th report which said that the time is now ripe for debarring independent candidates from contesting Lok Sabha elections.
Similarly, Upadhya has stated, “The National Commission to Review the Working of Constitution (NCRWC) has recommended discouragement of independent candidates, who are often dummy candidates or defectors from their party or those denied party tickets.” He has pleaded that the recommendation of the NCRWC be implemented.