Electoral Reforms In India

No bar on contesting two seats in one poll: Supreme Court


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Section 33 (7) of the RPA, 1951

Mains level: Not Much

The Supreme Court has refused to set aside a provision in the election law that allows candidates to contest polls from two constituencies simultaneously.

What is the issue?

  • The petition had sought the court to declare Section 33(7) of the Representation of People Act invalid and ultra vires.
  • Like one-person-one-vote, one-candidate-one-constituency is the dictum of democracy, argued the petition.

What did the SC say?

  • This is a policy matter and an issue concerning political democracy.
  • It is for the Parliament to take a call, CJI observed.

Provision for contesting polls from two constituency

  • Under section 33 (7) of the RPA, 1951, a person is allowed to contest polls, whether a general election, more than one by-elections or biennial elections, from a maximum of two seats.
  • Before this law, candidates could run in any number of constituencies.
  • If candidates win both seats, they must vacate one within 10 days, triggering a by-election, as stated under section 70 of the Act.
  • Under the Constitution, an individual cannot simultaneously be a member of either House of Parliament (or a state legislature), or both Parliament and a state legislature, or represent more than one seat in a House.

Issues with two polls provision

  • Issues with twin victories: There have been cases where a person contests election from two constituencies, and wins from both. In such a situation he vacates the seat in one of the two constituencies.
  • Expenses of bye-election: The consequence is that a by-election would be required from one constituency involving avoidable expenditure on the conduct of that bye-election.

ECI supports one-candidate-one-constituency

  • The Election Commission had, in an affidavit in 2018, supported the petition.
  • It had informed the Supreme Court that it had proposed an amendment to Section 33(7) in July 2004.

Way ahead

  • Heavy election deposits: A candidate should deposit an amount of ₹5 lakh for contesting in two constituencies in an Assembly election or ₹10 lakh in a general election.
  • Recurring election expenses: The amount would be used to cover the expenses for a by-election in the eventuality that he or she was victorious in both constituencies and had to relinquish one.


Crack Prelims 2023! Talk to our Rankers

(Click) FREE 1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and more

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch