Reform, right

The Election Commission has made a fresh push for amending the law to bar people from contesting from more thaan one seat and has said that if it cannot be done, then a hefty fine should be imposed on those vacating one of the constituencies and forcing a bypoll. In a recent interaction with the Legislative Secretary in the Law Ministry, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar made this push for the reform first proposed in 2004. The Legislative Department is the nodal agency in the government to deal with issues related to the EC. As electoral law stands, a candidate is permitted to contest from two different constituencies. If a person is elected from more than one seat, then the person can only hold on to one of the seats that he or she won. In 1996, the Representation of the People Act was amended to restrict a person from contesting polls from more than two seats. Before the amendment, there was no bar on the number of constituencies from which a candidate could contest.

The poll panel proposed amendment to certain sections in the RP Act in 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 bye-election to the seat that the contestant decides to vacate in the event of him or her winning both seats, a functionary said citing the proposal.