How does a MP’s seat become vacant?
Q. Which of the following is true regarding vacating a seat of Member of Parliament?
1) If elected to both Parliament and state legislature, the member’s seat in Parliament becomes vacant if he does not resign his seat in the state legislature within 14 days.
2) If a person is elected to both the Houses of Parliament, he must intimate within 14 days in which House he desires to serve.
3) Constitution has no provision to declare the election void, if disqualified candidate gets elected.- Published on 02 Mar 17
a. 1, 3
b. 1, 2
c. 2, 3
d. All of the above
ANSWER: 1, 3
Disqualification on Grounds of Defection -
- The Constitution says that a person shall be disqualified from being a member of Parliament if he/she is so disqualified on the ground of defection under the provisions of the Tenth Schedule.
Under the defection law a member incurs disqualification -
1. If he voluntary gives up the membership of the political party on whose ticket he is elected to the House.
2. If he votes or abstains from voting in the House contrary to any direction given by his political party.
3. If any independently elected member joins any political party.
4. If any nominated member joins any political party after the expiry of six months.
- The question of disqualification under the Tenth Schedule is decided by the Chairman in the case of Rajya Sabha and Speaker in the case of Lok Sabha.
- It is not decided by the President.
- In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that the decision of the Chairman/Speaker in this regard is subject to judicial review.
Vacating Seats - A Member of Parliament vacates his seat in following scenarios -
Double Membership -
- A person cannot be a member of both Houses of Parliament at the same time.
- As per the Representation of People Act (1951) if a person is elected to both the Houses of Parliament, he must intimate within 10 days in which House he desires to serve.
- If not intimated, his seat in the Rajya Sabha becomes vacant.
- If a sitting member of one House is also elected to the other House, his seat in the first House becomes vacant.
- If a person is elected to two seats in a House, he should exercise his option for one.
- Else, both seats become vacant.
- Similarly, a person cannot be a member of both the Parliament and the state legislature at the same time.
- The person’s seat in Parliament becomes vacant if he does not resign his seat in the state legislature within 14 days.
Disqualification - If a Member of Parliament becomes subject to any of the disqualifications specified in the Constitution, his seat becomes vacant.
- It also includes disqualification on the grounds of defection.
Resignation - A member may resign his seat by writing to the Chairman of Rajya Sabha or Speaker of Lok Sabha, as the case may be.
- The seat falls vacant when the resignation is accepted.
- But, the Chairman/Speaker may not accept the resignation if he is satisfied that it is not voluntary or genuine.
Absence - A House can declare the seat of a member vacant if he is absent from all its meetings for a period of 60 days without its permission.
- In computing the period of 60 days, no account shall be taken of any period during which the House is prorogued or adjourned for more than four consecutive days.
Other cases - A member has to vacate his seat in the Parliament -
1. if his election is declared void by the court;
2. if he is expelled by the House;
3. if he is elected to the office of President or Vice-President; and
4. if he is appointed to the office of governor of a state.
- Representation of the People Act (1951) enables the high court to declare an election void if a disqualified candidate is elected. There is no provision in the Constitution.
- The aggrieved party can appeal to the Supreme Court against the order of the high court in this regard.