• Election Commission of India
  • Ministry of Law and Justice

The Representation of People Act, 1951 is an act of Parliament of India to provide for the conduct of elections of the Houses of Parliament and to the House or Houses of the Legislature of each State, the qualifications and disqualifications for membership of those Houses, the corrupt practices and other offences at or in connection with such elections and the decision of doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with such elections. The Act was enacted by the provisional parliament under Article 327 of Indian Constitution, before the first general election.

The act comprises 11 parts:

1. Part I: Preliminary
2 Part II: Qualifications And Disqualifications
3 Part III: Notification Of General Elections
4 Part IV: Administrative Machinery For The Conduct Of Elections
5 Part IVa: Registration Of Political Parties
6 Part V: Conduct Of Elections
7 Part Va: Free Supply Of Certain Material To Candidates Of Recognised Political Parties
8 Part VI: Disputes Regarding Elections
9 Part VII: Corrupt Practices And Electoral Offences
10 Part VIII: Disqualifications
11 Part IX: Bye-elections
12 Part X: Miscellaneous
13 Part XI: General

Dealing with, amongst others:

1. Qualification of voters
2. Preparation of electoral rolls
3. Delimitation of constituencies
4. Allocation of seats in the Parliament and state legislatures

Notable Cases (Text from Wikipedia)

  • Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced that the government had issued notifications for registration of overseas Indian electors under the Representation of People Act, 1950 to enable Indians resident abroad to participate in elections.
  • Former state cabinet minister, Jagir Kaur, was booked under Section 123 of the act for bribing voters after the police seized 183 cases of liquor from the vehicles.
  • The Allahabad high court invalidated found Indira Gandhi, who was the then Prime Minister, guilty on the charge of misuse of government machinery for her election campaign. The court declared her election null and void and unseated her from her seat in the Lok Sabha representing Rae Bareilly constituency. The court also banned her from contesting any election for an additional six years. This resulted in declaration of emergency and amendments were made in the constitution to validate the election.
  • Umlesh Yadav is the first politician to be disqualified by the Election Commission of India for a period of three years for suppression of her election expenses incurred when she was elected as an MLA to the Bisauli constituency in the Uttar Pradesh state assembly elections, 2007.
  • Two Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly members, Bajrang Bahadur Singh and Uma Shankar Singh, were disqualified in January 2015 due to holding government contracts.
  • As part of the disproportionate assets case against Jayalalithaa, she became in 2014 the first Chief Minister to be disqualified from office.

Representation of People Act, 1951 in the News:

Maharashtra police to submit report on conviction of MPs, MLAs, MLCs
Indian Express, February 21, 2017

The police department is expected to submit their report to the chief electoral officer of the state before 10th of every month. The state home department has issued a directive to the police department asking them to track and report to presiding officers and the chief electoral officer about conviction of any sitting MPs, MLAs, MLCs in criminal cases. ■

Goa cops file FIR against BJP candidate for poll code breach
PTI/Times of India 20 Feb 2017

PANAJI: Police on Monday filed an FIR against BJP candidate Pandurang Madkaikar for allegedly violating model code of conduct during the just concluded Assembly polls in Goa. The candidate from Cumbharjua Assembly segment was booked by Old Goa Police on the basis of a complaint filed by one Shirin Naik who accused him of distributing coupons from a departmental store run by a trust to voters during elections.

Police have sent a notice to the former Minister, booked under Sections 171-B, 171–E and 188 of IPC (dealing with illegal payments in connection with election) and Section 123(1) of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951 (related to corrupt practice during election). ■

UP elections: EC directs polling officers to file FIR against Dainik Jagran for conducting “exit poll”
The Hindu, 13 February 2017

The Election Commission on Monday issued orders to election officers of 15 Uttar Pradesh districts, in which the first phase of Assembly elections were held on February 11, to lodge separate criminal cases against the managing director of Resource Development International and the Chief Editor of Hindi daily Dainik Jagran on charges of conducting and publishing an “exit poll”.

The cases will be registered under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, read with Section 126A and B of the Representation of the People Act that attracts up to two years’ imprisonment. The Chief Electoral Officer of the State has been directed to file a compliance report by 6 p.m. on Monday. As Section 188 is a cognisable offence, no court order is required to make arrests, said an EC official. ■

HC notice to EC on steps to curb inflammatory atmosphere
PTI, Feb 15 2017

The Allahabad High Court has sought reply from the Election Commission by tomorrow as to what steps can be taken to curb any “inflammatory atmosphere” during the current electoral process. The court was taking note of allegations that appeals were being made by various political parties on the basis of religion.

The high court’s Lucknow bench of justices Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Sanjay Harkauli gave the order on a PIL filed by local lawyer Ajmal Khan, seeking directions to curb any such inflammatory atmosphere in the ongoing Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. The petitioner alleged that the depictions and appeals being made by various political parties, their agents and speakers with the consent of their candidates on the basis of religion were causing immense damage and were in violation of provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. ■

Election expenditure monitoring coordination meeting held
The Sangai Express, 9 Feb 2017

Imphal: A coordination meeting with Central election expenditure observers of Imphal East district was held today at the Panchayat Bhawan, Imphal East, Porompat. The meeting, presided by Imphal East DEO Ningthoujam Geoffrey, was also attended by the officials engaged in election machinery.

The officer also made a presentation and explained how money can influence elections. He elaborated on the source of party and candidate campaign funds, expenditure and repayment. He said if any candidate crosses the expenditure limit of Rs 20 lakh during the election campaign, legal actions can be initiated. He explained several legal provisions to help check the use of black money during the election and further highlighted the provisions under Representation of the People’s Act 1951; Conduct of Elections Rules 196, Instructions of Commission; Indian Penal Code 1860, Income Tax Laws and State Excise Acts & Rules.

Dr Borgohain also elaborated Section 10A in the Representation of the People Act 1951 that deals with disqualification for failure to lodge account of election expenses. ■