Discuss the procedures to decide the disputes arising out of the election of a Member of the Parliament or a State Legislature under the Representation of 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? (250 words) [2022]

Under the Representation of People Act 1951 (RPA), the procedures for deciding disputes arising out of the election of a Member of Parliament (MP) or a State Legislature are as follows:

1. Filing of election petition: Any person aggrieved by the election of a returned candidate may file an election petition in the relevant high court within 45 days from the date of the declaration of the election results.

2. Hearing of petition: The high court will hear the petition and determine the validity of the election.

3. Grounds for declaring an election void: The election of a returned candidate may be declared void on the following grounds:

  • Corrupt practices: If the returned candidate has been found guilty of any corrupt practice, the election may be declared void.
  • Illegal practices: If the returned candidate has been found guilty of any illegal practice, the election may be declared void.
  • Non-compliance with election rules: If the returned candidate has not complied with the provisions of the RPA or any other rules or regulations related to the conduct of the election, the election may be declared void.
  • Disqualification of candidate: If the returned candidate was disqualified from contesting the election at the time of the election, the election may be declared void.

4. Remedy against the decision: If the high court declares the election of the returned candidate void, the aggrieved party may appeal to the Supreme Court of India within 30 days from the date of the high court’s decision.

In summary, the procedures for deciding disputes arising out of the election of a Member of Parliament or a State Legislature involve the filing of an election petition in the high court, the hearing of the petition by the high court, and the possibility of an appeal to the Supreme Court if the high court’s decision is not favorable to the aggrieved party. The election of a returned candidate may be declared void on the grounds of corrupt practices, illegal practices, non-compliance with election rules, or disqualification of the candidate.

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