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CURRENT AFFAIRS 08-08-2018

One Candidate, One Seat

Relevancy

  • G.S. Paper 2, Polity

What is the context?

  • The Election Commission has told the Supreme Court that it supports the proposal to allow one candidate to contest from only one constituency in an election.
  • The EC expressed this view in an affidavit it filed in the petition over the matter.

Brief background:-

  • The Supreme Court had in December 2017 issued notices seeking replies from the Election Commission and the Centre on the issue.
  • At the time, the Supreme Court had said the practice of one candidate contesting multiple seats was a drain on the exchequer since it necessitated bypolls.
  • A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging Section 33(7) of the Representation of the People Act of 1951 that allows a person to contest elections to Parliament and state assemblies from two constituencies and sought an end to the practice.

What’s the issue?

  • Political parties across the country field senior leaders from more than one seat in a bid to ensure victory.
  • If they win from multiple seats, these leader are then required to vacate other seats and continue to hold only one.
  • This means a general election is usually followed closely by a bye-election to the seats that have been vacated.

What is section 33(7) of RPA?

  • Section 33(7) of the Representation of People’s Act permits a candidate to contest any election (Parliamentary, State Assembly, Biennial Council, or bye-elections) from up to two constituencies.
  • The provision was introduced in 1996 prior to which there was no bar on the number of constituencies from which a candidate could contest.

 Why should candidates be barred from contesting from more than one seat?

  • One person, one vote & one candidate, one constituency is the dictum of democracy.
  • However, as per the law, as it stands today, a person can contest the election for the same office from two constituencies simultaneously.
  • 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 bye-election is also an injustice to the voters of the constituency which the candidate is quitting from.

 What is the alternative suggested by the Election commission?

  • The ECI has alternatively suggested that if existing provisions are retained then the candidate contesting from two seats should bear the cost of the bye-election to the seat that the contestant decides to vacate in the event of his/her winning both seats.
  • The amount in such an event could be Rs 5 lakh for assembly election and Rs 10 lakh for parliament election.

 

Nipah Virus

 

Relevancy

  • G.S. Paper 2,3

Why in news?

  • Kerala was put on high alert as Nipah Virus (NiV) infection was detected for the first time in the state.

Nipah virus:

  • THE VIRUS:
    • Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly-emerging zoonosis (a disease which can be transmitted to humans from animals) that causes severe disease in both animals and humans.
    • The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.
  • TRANSMISSION:
    • The viruses jump the species barrier and infect a secondary animal host.
    • The transmission takes place through direct contact with infected bats, pigs, or from other NiV-infected people.
    • People have been also cautioned that they should not consume fruits that have fallen on to the ground.
  • SYMPTOMS:
    • NiV infection in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis.
    • NiV is also capable of causing disease in pigs and other domestic animals.
    • Nipah virus primarily causes an encephalitic syndrome with a high mortality rate.
    • The characteristic MRI abnormalities are multiple, small (less than 5 mm), asymmetric focal lesions in the subcortical and deep white matter without surrounding edema.
  • TREATMENT:
    • There is no vaccine for either humans or animals.
    • The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care
  • PRECAUTIONS:
    • Nipah virus infection can be prevented by avoiding exposure to sick pigs and bats in endemic areas.
    • It is advisable to not drink raw date palm sap and not consume fruits that have fallen from trees.

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