A candidate should be barred from contesting more than one seat during elections. Vacating the seat imposes an unnecessary burden on public funds, the Election Commission has told the Supreme Court.
The EC said that the law is amended to prevent candidates from contesting on multiple seats. This has been used by several political leaders to give themselves an insurance against shock defeats.
In the affidavit, the EC says that Section 33 (7) of the Representation of Peoples' Act needs to be amended so that a candidate is restricted to contesting only from one seat. The affidavit was in response to a petition that sought an amendment to the provision.
The Election Commission said, "when a candidate contests from two seats, it is imperative that he has to vacate one of the two seats should he win both. This, apart from the consequent unavoidable financial burden on the public exchequer and the manpower and other resources for holding byelection against the resultant vacancy, would be an injustice to the voters of the constituency which the candidate is quitting from."
The commission said in case the present provision is retained then there should be an express provision in the law requiring a person, contesting and winning from two seats, to bear the cost of the byelection after he quits one constituency.
"The Election Commission proposed amendment of Section 33(7) in the year 2004 to provide that a person cannot contest from more than one constituency at a time. However, in case the existing provisions are to be retained, a candidate contesting from two seats should bear the cost of the byelection to the seat that contestant decides to vacate in the event of him/her winning both seats. The amount in such an event could be Rs 5 lakh for state assembly and Rs 10 lakh for general election," the EC further said in its affidavit.