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BJP Candidate Declared Elected Unopposed in Surat Lok Sabha Constituency


Recently, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from the Surat Lok Sabha constituency in Gujarat has been declared elected unopposed. This development comes after the rejection of nomination papers of other candidates and the withdrawal of nominations by other contestants.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Requirements for Valid Nomination
  2. Nomination Rejection in Surat Lok Sabha Constituency
  3. Concerns Regarding Declaring Results in Uncontested Elections
  4. Way Forward

Requirements for Valid Nomination:

Legal Basis:

  • Section 33 of the Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951 outlines the requirements for a valid nomination.

Candidate Eligibility:

  • Any elector above 25 years of age can contest the Lok Sabha election from any constituency in India.


  • Proposers must be electors from the respective constituency where the nomination is being filed.
  • Recognized party candidates require one proposer, while candidates from unrecognised parties and independents need ten proposers.

Nomination Papers:

  • A candidate can file up to four nomination papers with different sets of proposers to ensure acceptance, even if one set is in order.

Scrutiny Process:

  • Section 36 of the RP Act governs the scrutiny of nomination papers by the Returning Officer (RO).
  • Nomination papers cannot be rejected for non-substantial defects, but genuine signature issues can lead to rejection.

Nomination Rejection in Surat Lok Sabha Constituency:

Incident Overview:

  • The Congress candidate for the Surat constituency submitted three sets of nomination papers.
  • A BJP worker objected, alleging the signatures of the proposers were not genuine.
  • Affidavits from the proposers claiming non-signature were received, but they couldn’t appear before the RO within the deadline, leading to rejection of all nomination papers.
  • The substitute candidate’s nomination was also rejected, leading to the BJP candidate’s uncontested victory.

Uncontested Elections

  • The ECI’s handbook for returning officers states that if only one candidate is contesting in a constituency, they should be declared elected immediately after the deadline for withdrawal of candidature, and a poll is not necessary in that case. This is called Uncontested Elections.
Legal Recourse:

Election Petition:

  • Article 329(b) of the Constitution along with the RPA, 1951 allows challenging election results through an election petition filed before the concerned High Court.
  • Improper rejection of nomination papers is one ground for filing such petitions.


  • Legal recourse entails filing an election petition in the Gujarat High Court.
  • High Courts should aim to conclude trials within six months, although this hasn’t always been the case.

Importance of Speedy Disposal:

  • Swift resolution of election petitions is crucial for ensuring justice and maintaining public confidence in the electoral process.

Concerns Regarding Declaring Results in Uncontested Elections:

Democratic Legitimacy:

  • Uncontested victories raise concerns about the legitimacy of declaring candidates elected without a competitive electoral process, potentially undermining the democratic principle of representation.

Limited Voter Engagement:

  • Uncontested elections limit voter engagement and choice, depriving constituents of the opportunity to express their preferences through the electoral process.

Lack of Opposition:

  • In uncontested elections, there is a victor but no “vanquished” party, denying others the chance to contest and limiting political diversity.

Inadequacy of NOTA:

  • The None of the Above (NOTA) option, while allowing voters to express dissatisfaction, has been criticized as ineffective and toothless, lacking meaningful impact on the election outcome.

Rule 49-O vs. NOTA:

  • There’s a difference between Rule 49-O, where voters refuse to vote, and NOTA, which lacks a substantial impact on the election process.
  •  There is a difference between an elector exercising Rule 49-O and one using the NOTA option.
  • In the case of the former, the likelihood of such an elector compromising his or her secrecy is high, as there is a procedure to be followed manually at a polling booth. However, in the case of the latter, there is no such issue.

Way Forward:

Reform Electoral System:

  • Consider introducing a minimum percentage of votes required for a winning candidate to ensure a more representative mandate.

Exploration of Alternatives:

  • Explore transferring uncontested seats to nominated individuals if no candidates offer themselves for elections, promoting political diversity.

Enhance NOTA Impact:

  • Explore ways to make the NOTA option more impactful, potentially by considering it as a valid vote and incorporating it into the electoral process meaningfully.

Expedite Resolution of Election Petitions:

  • Ensure prompt resolution of election petitions filed in cases of nomination rejections or electoral disputes, promoting timely justice delivery and accountability.

-Source: The Hindu

May 2024