Media Says Rahul Might Contest LS Polls From 3 Seats, But Can He?
Well, he can’t. Why? Simply because the Indian law doesn’t permit it.
On 22 January, several media channels claimed that Congress President Rahul Gandhi was likely to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from three seats – Nanded in Maharasthra, Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh and his very own Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
The news was carried by channels like Times Now and Republic, garnering a lot of traction on social media.
While news of the Gandhi scion mulling three constituencies is source-based, the question remains – can a candidate contest the Lok Sabha Polls from three constituencies?
We have seen candidates contest from two constituencies in the past – like PM Modi did in 2014 from both Varanasi and Vadodara – but three constituencies might be tad bit of a stretch. Why? Simply because the Indian law does not allow it.
As pointed out by parliamentary affairs expert Meghnad on Twitter, Section 33(7) in the Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951, permits a candidate to contest the general elections, or a group of bye-elections, from not more than two constituencies at a time.
Several others also reiterated the provisions of Section 33(7) of RPA in response to Times Now and Republic’s stories.
In fact, in April 2018, the Election Commission of India (ECI) also told the Supreme Court that should a candidate decide to contest from two seats simultaneously and win both seats, the expenditure for the bye-elections in the surrendered seat must be deposited to the government by the said candidate, reported Live Law.
This is not the first time the ECI has taken such a stand on Section 33(7) of the RPA. In 2004, the ECI had submitted a set of 22 proposals on electoral reforms to the government, of which one referred to...
“... a restriction on number of seats from which one may contest and it was proposed that the law be amended to provide that a person cannot contest from more than one constituency at a time and if at all the existing law has to be retained then there should be an express provision requiring a person who contest and win the election from two seats resulting in a bye election to deposit in the government account an appropriate amount of money being the expenditure for holding the bye-election.”ECI
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