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The Supreme Court today listed for final hearing on March 19 the PIL seeking barring candidates from contesting elections from two seats and discouraging independents from jumping into electoral fray. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, which had earlier issued notices to the Election Commission and the Centre, meanwhile asked them to complete their pleadings by the next date. The petition, filed by Delhi BJP spokesperson and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, has sought declaring as invalid and ultra-virus section 33(7) of the Representation of the People (RP) Act which allows a person to contest a general election or a group of by-elections or biennial elections from two constituencies. The PIL has also sought a direction to the authorities to take appropriate steps to discourage independent candidates from contesting Parliament and state Assembly elections, saying they were often connected with the issue of "fragmented voting" and causing instability in the electoral system. "When a candidate contests from two seats, it is imperative that he has to vacate one of the two seats if he wins both. "This, apart from the consequent unavoidable financial burden on the public exchequer, government manpower and other resources for holding by-election against the resultant vacancy, is also an injustice to the voters of the constituency which the candidate is quitting from," the plea said. It also said that in July 2004, the Chief Election Commissioner had urged the then prime minister for amending Section 33(7) of the RP Act to ensure that a person cannot contest from more than one constituency for the same office simultaneously.
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