Representation of People Act, 1950
The electoral process in our nation is governed by Articles 324–329 of Part XV of the Constitution. The Constitution gives Parliament the authority to establish rules for elections to the State Legislatures and the Parliament. The Representation of the People Act 1950 (RPA Act 1950), Representation of the People Act 1951 (RPA Act 1951), and Delimitation Commission Act of 1952 were all statutes that the Parliament passed in order to exercise this authority.
The Representation of the People Act 1950 is an important part of Indian Polity which is an important subject in UPSC Syllabus. Students can also go for UPSC Mock Test to get more accuracy in their preparations.
Representation of People Act, 1950 History
General elections were required to choose a truly representative government based on adult universal suffrage after the country gained independence. No one should be denied the right to participate in or claim participation in a special electoral roll on the grounds of their religion, race, caste, or sex, according to Article 325 of the constitution, which guarantees universal suffrage.
As a result, on November 26th, 1949, the ECI was founded as a separate constitutional entity. To establish a legislative basis for the holding of elections, Parliament passed the Representation of the People Act of 1950, the Representation of the People Act of 1951, and the Delimitation Commission Act of 2002. For the first general elections to the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha, the President issued the first delimitation order in August 1951 after consulting with ECI and receiving Parliament’s assent.
Also Read: State Human Right Commission
Representation of the People Act of 1950 Provisions
The election provisions are part of the Representation of the People Act of 1950. Seat distribution for the House of Representatives, State Legislative Assemblies, and State Legislative Councils, as well as the delineation of constituencies for the Parliament, Assembly, and Council.
Chief electoral officers, district election officers, and electoral registration officers are only a few examples of election officials. Electoral lists for the Parliament, the Assembly, and the Council. One of the provisions is the process for delegates from union territories to fill seats in the Council of States. Local authorities are one of the provisions for state legislative council elections. Preventing the exercise of civil court jurisdiction.
Only after consulting the ECI may the President of India change orders defining constituencies. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are entitled to seats in the Lok Sabha. The ECI has the power to choose which districts in Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura would be designated for scheduled tribes.
Allocation of Seats
Each state is represented in the Lok Sabha to the fullest extent feasible in proportion to its population as indicated by census data.
The 1950 Act permits those who hold a service qualification, such as a member of the armed forces, a member of a state’s armed police force serving outside the state, or central government employees posted outside India, to be registered on electoral rolls. Wives of these individuals are also considered to be ordinarily residents in India as determined by the President in consultation with the ECI. The term “wife” would be changed to “spouse” in order to gender-neutralize some clauses.
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO)
To oversee the election operations in the state/UTs, the ECI will nominate or appoint a CEO for each state in cooperation with the state government. The ECI also appoints or designates a state official as the District Election Officer (DEO) in conjunction with the state government. The CEO is ultimately in charge of and oversees the DEO’s work.
Electoral Registration Officer (ERO)
The task of creating the electoral rolls for each constituency (parliamentary or assembly) is under the purview of the ERO. The District Magistrate is currently hearing an appeal over a decision made by the ERO during the electoral roll update.
Returning Officer (RO)
The RO oversees the election in a constituency and nominates a winner. The ECI appoints or designates a government official or local authority as the RO after consulting with the state government.
Power to make rules
The act grants the Central government the authority, which it may then use after consulting with the ECI. Additionally, the Civil Courts are not permitted to contest the constitutionality of any ERO electoral roll amendment action.
Voting rights were granted to Indian nationals residing overseas in 2010.
Also Read: National Human Rights Commission
Representation of the People Act of 1950 Significance
It was passed in order to set voter requirements, specify the process for creating electoral rolls, and specify how seats would be filled. It also outlines the allocation of seats and the delineation of constituencies. Since then, this Act has undergone various amendments, the most recent of which was made in 2017.
The Act permits common citizens to register on a constituency’s electoral rolls. These people include those with a service qualification (such as members of the armed forces, armed police from a state serving outside the state, or central government employees posted outside India), as well as those who hold certain offices in India that the President has declared after consulting the Election Commission. According to the Act, the wives of such people are likewise considered to be ordinarily residing in India. In the 2017 modification, the word “spouse” was used in place of “wife.”
In a direct and participatory democracy, voters can select their leaders because elections are held at the constituency level. With the aid of a delimitation commission, MPs and MLAs are chosen based on population to ensure equity. The election rolls are updated often to ward off ghost and fake voters. Politics is decriminalized by sections like 8(4), which forbids the entry of members with a criminal history. By forbidding candidates from influencing voters with financial support, it promotes free and fair elections. Serve as a deterrent for candidates to stay clear of wrongdoing and corruption and to behave in the public interest.
Representation of the People Act of 1950 Criticism
Due to a lack of independent staff and a separate secretariat for its own operations, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has difficulty carrying out its duties since it lacks the necessary authority. India has a legislative framework to enforce internal party democracy, not even the RPA act, in contrast to Germany and Portugal.
Candidates fail to disclose their assets and liabilities even though the Supreme Court and the RPA demand them to. RPAs lack explicit laws and instructions on issues connected to the abuse of official apparatus that offers the ruling party an unwarranted electoral advantage. Under the RPA legislation, false affidavits or a significant suspension are not grounds for election violations.
Representation of the People Act of 1950 UPSC
India must have a mechanism to defend people’s interests and electors must act in the best interests of the people rather than their own self-interest as a democratic nation where people elect their representatives. Parliament passed the Representation of the Peoples Act (RPA) with these factors in mind. Students can read all the details related to UPSC by visiting the official website of StudyIQ UPSC Online Coaching.