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Election Commission wants people to run from one seat

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Appointment to various constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various constitutional bodies.

 

Context:

  • The Election Commission has made a fresh push for amending the law to bar people from contesting more than one seat.
  • It 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.
  • The Legislative Department is the nodal agency in the government to deal with issues related to the EC.

 

Background:

  • As per Section 33(7) of the RPA (Representation of the People Act), 1951, one candidate can contest from a maximum of two constituencies.

 

Issues:

  • One-Act Negates another: Since no Candidate can represent two Constituencies, the idea of this system appears to be illogical and ironic.
  • By-election Strains Public Exchequer: After sacrificing one of the Constituencies, a by-election is automatically triggered immediately after the general election.
  • Voters Lose Interest: Repeated elections are not only unnecessary and costly, but they will also cause voters to lose interest in the electoral process.

 

Recommendations of the Election Commission:

  • The Election Commission recommended amending Section 33(7) to allow one candidate to contest from only one seat. It has done so in 2004, 2010, 2016 and 2018.
  • A system should be devised wherein if a candidate contested from two constituencies and won both, then he or she would bear the financial burden of conducting the subsequent by-election in one of the constituencies.
Election Laws (amendment) Act 2021

 

De-Duplication of Electoral Roll:

  1. It provides for amendment of section 23 of the Representation of People’s Act, 1950, enabling the linking of electoral roll data with the Aadhaar ecosystem.
  2. This aims to curb the menace of multiple enrolments of the same person in different places.
  3. This will help in stopping bogus voting and fraudulent votes.
  4. This linking is in consonance with the 105th report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances and Law and Justice.

 

Multiple Qualifying Dates:

  1. The citizens get voting rights when they turn 18. However, many are left out of the electoral rolls even after turning 18. This is because, in the system, 1st January is the qualifying date.
  2. Four qualifying dates will be declared for updating the voting rolls to include those who have turned 18 — the first day of the months of January, April, July and October.

Bringing Gender Neutrality:

The language for registration of ‘wives of service voters’ will now be replaced by ‘spouse’. This will make the laws more “gender-neutral”.

Service voters are those serving in the armed forces, armed police forces of a state serving outside it and government employees posted outside India.

 

Insta Links:

To read RPA 1951: Click here

 

Practice Questions:  

Q. Critically analyze the provisions of the Election Law(Amendment) Act, 2021. (10M)

 

Q. With reference to Election Laws(Amendment) Act, 2021, consider the following statements:

  1. The language for “wives of service voters” will be replaced by the spouse.
  2. There will be four qualifying dates for updating voter rolls which include the first day of months of January, March, June and October.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (a)