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UPSC Mains 2022

Discuss the procedures to decide the disputes arising out of the election of a Member of the Parliament or State Legislature under The Representation of the People Act, 1951. What are the grounds on which the election of any returned candidate may be declared void? What remedy is available to the aggrieved party against the decision ? Refer to the case laws.

General Studies Paper - 2, Topic - RPA 1951.

Dec 29, 2022

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Under the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (RPA), there are certain procedures that are followed to decide disputes arising out of the election of a Member of the Parliament or State Legislature. These procedures are as follows:

 

1. Filing of a petition: Any person who wishes to challenge the election of a returned candidate can file a petition before the appropriate forum, such as the High Court or the Supreme Court, seeking to declare the election void.

 

2. Service of notice: The petition must be served on the returned candidate and other relevant parties, such as the Election Commission of India (ECI).

 

3. Filing of a counter-affidavit: The returned candidate and other relevant parties have the right to file a counter-affidavit in response to the petition, setting out their defenses and objections.

 

4. Hearing of the petition: The appropriate forum will hold a hearing to consider the petition and the counter-affidavits filed by the parties. It may also consider other evidence and arguments presented by the parties.

 

5. Decision of the forum: After considering the evidence and arguments presented by the parties, the appropriate forum will issue a decision declaring the election of the returned candidate void or upholding it.

 

The election of a returned candidate may be declared void on the following grounds:

 

1. Corrupt practices: If the returned candidate or his/her agents have engaged in corrupt practices, such as bribery or undue influence, the election may be declared void.

 

2. Invalid votes: If a significant number of invalid votes have been cast or counted, the election may be declared void.

 

3. Non-compliance with the provisions of the RPA: If there has been a non-compliance with the provisions of the RPA, such as in relation to the nomination of candidates or the conduct of the election, the election may be declared void.

 

An aggrieved party who is dissatisfied with the decision of the appropriate forum can file an appeal to a higher court, such as the Supreme Court, seeking review of the decision. There have been several cases in which the election of a returned candidate has been challenged and declared void by the courts, based on the grounds mentioned above. Some examples of such cases include Krishnamoorthy v. Sivakumar, (2015) and Rahul Singh Lodhi v. Chanda Singh Gour (2022).

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