Supreme Court junks PIL, says it’s for House to take call on ‘one candidate, one seat’ | India News

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a six-year-old PIL challenging the validity of Section 33(7) of the Representation of the People Act that allowed a candidate to contest from two seats in any general election and said it was for Parliament to decide whether enacting the “one candidate-one constituency” law would further electoral democracy.
Prior to 1996, a candidate could contest from as many seats as he/she wished in a general election. But Parliament amended RP Act Section 33, with effect from August 1, 1996, to provide that he/she could contest a maximum of two seats in a general election.
The PIL by advocate-petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay had based his challenge to the validity of Section 33(7) on the ‘one person, one vote’ principle applied to voters and had demanded that candidates be restricted to contesting only one seat in a general election.
Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Gopal Shankaranarayanan said that many a time a candidate gets elected from both constituencies resulting in his/her forsaking one of the seats that entails holding of byelection and huge expense to the exchequer. Attorney general R Venkataramani said he did not find any rationale behind the court entertaining an issue which fell in the legislative’s domain. The bench was unimpressed by the petitioner’s arguments and said, “Permitting a candidate to contest from more than one seat in a parliamentary or state legislative election is a matter pertaining to legislative policy, since ultimately, it is Parliament’s will to implement whether political democracy in the country is furthered by granting such a choice as is made available under Section 33(7).”

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