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Two seat contest by one candidate must stay, Centre tells Supreme Court


New Delhi, July 19: The issue relating to a two-seat contest came up before the Supreme Court and the Centre maintained that the concept is a reasonable one. The government objected to a proposal that sought to do away with a candidate contesting from two constituencies.

The government argued that such a limitation would infringe upon a person's right to contest the polls and also curtails the polity's choice of candidates. In case a one-candidate-one-constituency restriction were to be brought about it would require a legislative amendment, the Centre also told the court.

Two seat contest by one candidate must stay, Centre tells Supreme Court

The government however backed Section 33(7) of the Representation of Peoples Act of 1951 which restricted candidates to contest from just two constituencies. Prior to the amendment to the Section, a candidate would contest from any number of constituencies.

The submissions were made when the court was hearing a petition filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, who sought to strike down Section 33(7) of the Act which permits a two seat contest by one candidate.

The petitioner also sought to discourage independent candidates from contesting parliamentary and assembly elections. The Election Commission told the Supreme Court that it had proposed an amendment of the section in 2004 itself and it was one of the 22 urgent electoral reforms.

The poll body also said that it opposes a two seat contest. If the candidate wins from both constituencies, then he forfeits one, which then makes a by-election necessary. This leads to unwanted expenditure which involves labour on the conduct of the by-poll. The EC said that the law should be amended so that a person cannot contest from two seats. The poll body also suggested that if no amendment is made then the candidate contesting from two seats should deposit Rs 5 lakh for an assembly poll and Rs 10 lakh for a Lok Sabha election. This money would be used to conduct the by-election in case it becomes necessary, the EC also added.

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