To ensure the conduct of elections in a free, fair, and impartial manner, the constitution-makers incorporated Part XV (Articles 324–329) into the constitution and empowered Parliament to make laws to regulate the electoral process. In this context, the Parliament enacted the Representation of the People Act (RPA) of 1950 and the Representation of the People Act of 1951.
Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1950
- Seat allocation in the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assemblies through direct elections.
- Lays down procedures for delimitation of constituencies.
- Provides for the allocation of seats in the House of the People and in the Legislative Assemblies and Legislative Councils of States.
- Lays procedure for the preparation of electoral rolls and the manner of filling seats.
- Lays down the qualification of voters.
The Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951
It regulates the actual conduct of elections and by-elections.
It provides administrative machinery for conducting elections.
It deals with the registration of political parties.
It specifies the qualifications and disqualifications for membership of the Houses.
It provides provisions to curb corrupt practices and other offenses.
It lays down the procedure for settling doubts and disputes arising out of elections.
Section 126 of the RPA, 1951 – 48 hours before the polling ends or concludes, displaying any election matter by television or similar apparatus in a constituency is prohibited.
- Not applicable to print media, news portals, and social media
- Section 126A prohibits the conduct of exit polls and dissemination of their results during the period mentioned.
Section 8 (3) – If an MP or MLA is convicted for any other crime and is sent to jail for 2 years or more, he/ she will be disqualified for 6 years from the time of release.
- Section 8(4) allowed convicted MPs, MLAs, and MLCs to continue in their posts, provided they appealed against their conviction/sentence in higher courts within 3 months.
- The Supreme Court in July 2013 (Lily Thomas Case) struck down section 8(4) of the RPA, 1951 and declared it ultra vires, and held that the disqualification takes place from the date of conviction.
Section 29 of RPA, 1951 – Political parties should be enforced to submit audit reports to ECI.
- Now, political parties are eligible to accept contributions from foreign companies defined under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, of 2010.