The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a public interest litigation seeking to quash a law allowing candidates to contest elections from more than one constituency, Live Law reported.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ashwini Upadhyay had challenged the constitutionality of Section 33(7) of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951.
In his plea, Upadhyay pointed out that candidates need to vacate one of their seats if they end up winning both of them.
“...Apart from the consequent unavoidable financial burden on the public exchequer, government manpower and other resources for holding bye-election against the resultant vacancy, is also an injustice to the voters of the constituency which the candidate is quitting from.”
However, a bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud dismissed the plea, saying it was a legislative matter. “Candidates may contest from different seats due to variety of reasons,” the court added. “Whether this would further the course of democracy is up to Parliament.”
Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, representing Upadhyay, told the court that the Law Commission of India had also recommended to bar a person from contesting more than one seat at a time. The bench responded by saying that it was the prerogative of Parliament to take action and there was no need for judicial interference.
Several leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, have contested from two constituencies in the past in a bid to demonstrate their mass appeal.
At Thursday’s hearing, Chandrachud said that candidates can attempt to become pan-India leaders by contesting from more than one seat. “These are all political decisions and ultimately the electorate will decide,” he added.