Plea says the consequent by-election will entail unwarranted expenses

Seeking to quash the provisions of the Representation of the People Act which permit a candidate to contest elections from two constituencies, a public interest writ petition filed in the Supreme Court by the Voters Party said that in case he/she managed to win from both, “he/she is bound by the existing law to vacate one of the seats, thereby forcing an unwarranted by-election and its related expenses.”

The petitioner said it acted against the fundamental principles of representative democracy, besides distorting the faith of the people who elected him/her. In such a situation, the elected candidate should bear the cost of the entire by-election in the vacated constituency.

The petition pointed out that prominent politicians had made it a habit of contesting from two constituencies, and many a time, they won from both. After the declaration of results, the winning candidate vacated one seat, warranting an expeditious by-election and consequent wasteful expenditure, given the spiralling cost of holding elections.

“The provision of law is very often misused by the contestants as a security/ insurance at the cost of the general public/taxpayer, which is forced to bear the burden of a candidate,” it said. It also sought a direction to the Centre and the EC to furnish the details pertaining to the reasons and expenditure of by-elections conducted in India since 1952.

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