Law Commission against candidates contesting from two constituencies

Law Commission against candidates  contesting from two constituencies

The Law Commission has recommended restricting a candidate to contest election to the Legislature from one constituency and favoured banning independent candidates as part of the electoral reforms.

The panel headed by Justice A P Shah also said that the appointment of the chief election commissioner and the two election commissioners should be conducted by the President through a collegium consisting of the prime minister, leader of the opposition and the chief justice of India.

In its second report on electoral reforms in a year, the law panel has also rejected the idea of compulsory voting and has stressed on regulating and restricting government sponsored advertisements six months prior to the date of expiry of the House “to maintain the purity of elections.”

On the issue of electoral finances, it said election expenses incurred or authorised by candidates or their election agents, currently extends from the date of nomination to the date of declaration of results. This period should be extended to apply from the date of notification of the polls to the date of declaration of results.

The commission said the Companies Act should be amended to require passing of the resolution authorising the contribution from the company’s funds to a political party at the company’s Annual General Meeting instead of its Board of Directors.

Supporting the Election Commission (EC), the Law Commission said an electoral offence of “paying for news” or “receiving payment for news” should be put in the Representation of the People’s Act.

On banning independents from contesting polls, the panel said they be debarred from contesting elections because the current regime allows a proliferation of independents, who are mostly dummy/non-serious candidates or those who stand (with the same name) only to increase the voters’ confusion.

On the issue of candidates presently being allowed to contest polls from two seats, the commission said: “In view of the expenditure of time and effort, election fatigue and the harassment caused to the voters, Section 33(7) of the Representation of the People’s Act should be amended to permit candidates to stand from only one constituency.”

Referring to the law governing disqualification of an MP or MLA, the commission recommended that the power to decide on disqualification on the ground of defection should rest with the President or the governor instead of the Speaker or the Chairman, who shall act on the advice of the EC.

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