The Supreme Court in the case Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay vs Union of India observed and has dismissed the PIL challenging the constitutionality of Section 33(7) of the Representation of Peoples Act 1951, wherein it is allowing a candidate to contest from two seats in elections. The bench comprising of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala was hearing the present matter of legislative policy, the PIL was filed by Ashwini Upadhyay. The said provision was challenged before the court as unreasonable and arbitrary for creating extra burden on the public exchequer as bye-elections will invariably follow because candidates have to give up one seat in case they win from both the seats.
The bench in its order stated while permitting a candidate for contesting for more than one seat is a matter of legislative policy since ultimately it is the will of the parliament on whether the political democracy is furthered by granting such choice. Further, the bench stated that the candidates may contest from different seats due to variety of reasons. Weather this being this would be the course of democracy is up to the Parliament.
The counsel, Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for the petitioner submitted while placing reliance on the recommendations made by the Law Commission of India for doing away with the provision. In this regard, the bench observed that it is the prerogative of the Parliament to act upon the recommendations of the Law Commission. The court stated that a statutory provision cannot be struck down as unconstitutional on the basis of the recommendation of the Law Commission. It has also been pointed out by Sankaranarayanan that before 1966, a candidate could contest from any number of seats. However, the law was being amended in 1966 wherein restricting the said number of two.
It has also been observed by the bench that the Parliament may at a later time think it fit to further restrict the number and it can always amend the Act. However, the judicial interference is being unwarranted. In the said case, petitioner seek an alternative relief that candidates who seek to contest from two seats must be asked to deposit a higher sum on money. The said prayer was also not entertained by the bench wherein terming it as a policy matter. The bench headed by CJI Chandrachud orally observed that these matters are of political democracy and are not for judicial interference. Adding to which CJI asked the petitioner what being wrong in this.
Therefore, the CJI orally remarked that there being an another way to look at it. A leader can say that i want to establish my pan India and showing that I can stand from West, east, north, south. All these being the political decisions and ultimately the electorate will decide. Adding to which, the bench of Justice Narasimha stated that there is no immorality in that and there being historical figures who had that kind of popularity