In Writ Petition (Civil) No. 967 of 2017, the petitioner has challenged the constitutional validity of Section 33(7) of the Representation of the People Act 1951. The petitioner has also sought a direction to the Central government and the Election Commission of India to take steps to restrict any person from contesting an election for the same office from more than one constituency simultaneously. During the hearing, the issue was raised under Article 19 of the Constitution, and the senior counsel for the petitioner argued that citizens exercise their right to vote after knowing about a candidate’s character, qualifications, and criminal antecedents. It has been submitted that when a candidate contests from two seats and is elected from both, one of the two seats has to be vacated, which deprives the electorate of its right to be represented by that candidate. Section 33(7) of the Act of 1951 prohibits a person from being nominated as a candidate for election from more than two constituencies for certain types of elections.

“Permitting a candidate to contest from more than one seat in a
Parliamentary election or at an election to the State Legislative Assembly is a
matter of legislative policy. It is a matter pertaining to legislative policy
WPC 967/2017.

since, ultimately, Parliament determines whether political democracy in the
country is furthered by granting a choice such as is made available by
Section 33(7) of the Act of 1951. A candidate who contests from more than
one seat may do so for a variety of reasons not just bearing on the
uncertainty which the candidate perceives of an election result. There are
other considerations which weigh in the balance in determining whether this
would restrict the course of electoral democracy in the country. This is a
matter where Parliament is legitimately entitled to make legislative choices
and enact or amend legislation. The Law Commission and the Election
Commission may at the material time have expressed certain viewpoints.
Whether they should be converted into a mandate of the law depends on the
exercise of Parliamentary sovereignty in enacting legislation. Absent any
manifest arbitrariness of the provision so as to implicate the provisions of
Article 14 or a violation of Article 19, it would not be possible for this Court to
strike down the provision as unconstitutional.”

Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay Petitioner
Versus
Union of India and Another Respondents
on Feb 2, 23.

By aor.sanjivnarang@gmail.com

Sanjiv Narang Adv. is an Advocate on Record in the Supreme Court of India. His qualifications include an LLB from University of Delhi and a Masters degree in Personnel Management from Panjab University,Chandigarh.In his more than 3 decades of experience, he has practiced law at the District, High Court and Supreme Court levels.He also has more than a decade of experience in the field of Management. He is the author of two books namely Laws for Women in India and Innovation, Why What and How.