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Can an individual simultaneously be a member of both Houses of Parliament?

Topics covered:

  1. Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

 

Can an individual simultaneously be a member of both Houses of Parliament?

 

What to study?

For prelims: constitutional provisions on this.

For mains: Concerns and issues associated with simultaneous membership.

 

Why in News? Some of those who won in the recent elections were elected from more than one constituency; some were already members of either Rajya Sabha or the legislature of a state. These MPs must vacate one of their seats — because under the Constitution, an individual cannot simultaneously be a member of both Houses of Parliament (or a state legislature), or both Parliament and a state legislature, or represent more than one seat in a House.

 

What are the procedures and timelines for effecting this?

Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha:

  • If a person is elected simultaneously to both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, and if he has not yet taken his seat in either House, he can choose, within 10 days from the later of the dates on which he is chosen to those Houses, the House of which he would like to be a member. [Article 101(1) of the Constitution read with Section 68(1) of The Representation of the People Act, 1951]
  • The member must intimate his choice in writing to the Secretary to the Election Commission of India (ECI) within the 10-day window, failing which his seat in Rajya Sabha will fall vacant at the end of this period. [Sec 68(2), RPA 1951]. The choice, once intimated, is final. [Sec 68(3), RPA, 1951]
  • No such option is, however, available to a person who is already a member of one House and has contested the election for membership of the other House. So, if a sitting Rajya Sabha member contests and wins a Lok Sabha election, his seat in the Upper House becomes automatically vacant on the date he is declared elected to Lok Sabha. The same applies to a Lok Sabha member who contests an election to Rajya Sabha. [Sec 69 read with Sec 67A, RPA 1951]

 

Elected on two Lok Sabha seats:

There is no one in this category in the new Lok Sabha. Under Sec 33(7) of RPA, 1951, an individual can contest from two parliamentary constituencies but, if elected from both, he has to resign one seat within 14 days of the declaration of the result, failing which both his seats shall fall vacant. [Sec 70, RPA, 1951 read with Rule 91 of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961]

 

State Assembly and Lok Sabha:

Under Article 101(2) of the Constitution (read with Rule 2 of the Prohibition of Simultaneous Membership Rules, 1950, made by the President under this Article) members of state legislatures who have been elected to Lok Sabha must resign their seats within 14 days “from the date of publication in the Gazette of India or in the Official Gazette of the State, whichever is later, of the declaration that he has been so chosen”, failing which their seats in Lok Sabha shall automatically fall vacant.

 

Sources: Indian Express.

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