This could affect HD Kumaraswamy in the Karnataka polls, as he recently announced he would be contesting from two constituencies.

Dont allow candidates to contest from more than one seat Election Commission tells SC
news Elections Wednesday, April 04, 2018 - 15:39

The Election Commission has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in support of only one candidate being able to contest from one seat. This came after a petition was filed in October 2017 by lawyer and Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay.

This could affect the Karnataka polls scheduled to take place in May. While the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress are yet to release their final candidates’ list, Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy recently declared that he would be contesting from two seats – Ramanagara (he is currently the MLA from this seat) and Channapatna.

In its affidavit, the EC said that it wants Section 33(7) of the Representation of People’s Act to be amended. As per the section, one person can currently contest from two constituencies at the same time.

The Supreme Court took up the matter on Wednesday, but since the Centre had not filed its response, the court has adjourned the matter to six weeks from now, reported News18.

A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud heard the matter.

“We had sought the assistance of Attorney General KK Venugopal in the matter. He has agreed to assist, but seeks time to file a counter to the petition. Time is granted. Let the matter be taken up in the first week of July,” the bench said, reported Live Law.

According to Zee News, in December 2017, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre and the Election Commission to file their responses on the issue.

Upadhyay in his PIL argued that a candidate who won from two seats – and hence has to resign from one – not only burdens the public exchequer and other resources in order for the bye-election to be conducted, but is also an injustice to voters.

According to News18, the EC has sent similar proposals to the Central government in 2004 and 2016.

In a PIL given by the then Chief Election Commissioner, he said that in case a candidate does contest from two seats and wins both, then the candidate must bear the cost for the bye-election of the constituency he resigns from. At the time, the cost had been pegged at Rs 5 lakh for state assembly elections and Rs 10 lakh for a Lok Sabha election.

In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had contested from both Vadodara and Varanasi. Having won from both, he resigned from Vadodara. In the Lok Sabha elections, Sonia Gandhi also contested from two constituencies – Amethi and Rae Bareli.

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