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Election Commission Backs One Candidate-One Seat Plea In Supreme Court

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| April 4 , 2018 , 17:43 IST

Agreeing to the petition filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay requesting that one candidate should only be allowed to contest on one seat, Election Commission filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court on Wednesday requesting to bar the candidates from contesting elections from two or more seats.

The current law allows the candidates to contest elections from up to a maximum of two constituencies in Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly polls. Notably, even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had contested from two seats - Vadodara and Varanasi in 2014 general elections.

After going through Upadhyay's PIL, the Supreme Court issued notices seeking replies from the Election Commission and the Centre on the issue in December 2017. Now, EC has requested for the amendment of Representation of the People Act to restrict a candidate to contest from one seat. 

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The commission claims to have already submitted their suggestion in the matter to the central government twice before in 2004 and 2016. They asserted to have sent proper proposals each time but the government has failed to act upon it. The affidavit filed is based on the same proposal.

EC conveyed that allowing a candidate contesting from two seats is "avoidable and unnecessary" burden on the public exchequer. The affidavit also mentioned that in case, the candidate wins from both the seats, he has to vacate one and the action is unjustified for the voters of that constituency.

In case SC is unable to see the restraint necessary, the EC has demanded a provision in the RP Act to ensure that the candidate is made to pay for the re-poll for the constituency he opts to quit. The hearing of the case will take place before the bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.