Representation of Peoples Act 1951: Short Notes on RPA 1951

By Ritesh|Updated : July 25th, 2022

The Representation of Peoples Act was passed by the Constitution of India in accordance with Article 327. It is an important act to learn as it tells us about the conduct of elections in the country. The Representation of People's Act has certain provisions for the following-

  • For the conduct of the election in the House of Parliament and House of Legislature of all the states.
  • The qualifications, and disqualifications of the memberships of both of these houses.
  • Looking for corrupt and illegal practices, or other election-related offences.
  • Decisions related to the election disputes.
  • The registration of the electors for the Parliamentary Constituencies and for the Assembly & Council Constituencies.

Representation of the People's Act is part of the syllabus of the Indian Polity of UPSC Exam. To get in-depth knowledge about the act, download the pdf version of this article.

Table of Content

What is the Representation of Peoples Act 1951?

In congruence with Article 327 of Part 15 of the constitution, Parliament passed the Representation of People's Act 1951. The Representation of People's Act deals with:

  • The actual conduct of elections of the house of Parliament and
  • to the house or House of the Legislature of each state.
  • The qualification and disqualification for membership of those houses,
  • and election disputes arising out of such elections.

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Background of Representation of Peoples Act 1951

Part 15 deals with the electoral systems of the country and Article 327 of the Indian Constitution empowers Parliament to make laws related to elections from time to time. It ensures a free and fair election in the country. The state legislature may also make a law if Parliament has not made any law on the subject. Hence, to conduct free and fair elections in the country, the government introduced the Representation of the People's Act 1950, which was the first to regulate elections in the country.

Amendments to RPA Act 1951

The following are the Amendment of the Representation of Peoples Act-

Representation of Peoples Act 1950

The Representation of People's Act 1950 provides:

  • Allocation of a number of seats to the state in the house of the people.
  • Delimitation of the constituencies for the purpose of election to the house of the people and the legislature of the state.
  • Power of the Election Commission to maintain the delimitation order up to date.
  • Qualification of voters at such elections.
  • The preparation of electoral rolls for different constituencies.

Representation of Peoples Act 1951

The Representation of the Peoples Act of 1951 establishes

  • Qualification and disqualification for the membership of the Parliament and state legislatures and also to provide grounds for disqualification.
  • Disqualification on the ground of corrupt practices, corruption, or disloyalty, for failure to lodge an account of election expenses.
  • Notification for the general election to the House of the People and legislature and biennial election to the Council of States and the state Legislative Council.
  • Administrative machinery for the conduct of elections.
  • Registration of political parties.
  • The actual conduct of the election

Representation of Peoples Act 1966

Election tribunals are abolished under the Representation of the Peoples Act of 1966. In connection with the same, the election was transferred to the High Court, while the Supreme Court heard directly the cases of disputes regarding the election of the President and Vice-President.

Representation of Peoples Act 1988

Because of the increased cases of booth capturing and Electronic Voting Machines(EVMs) fraud, the Representation of People's Act 1988 came with a provision to postpone or abrogate the polling.

Representation of Peoples Act 2002

  • The Representation of People's Act 2002 Amendment provides the provision of the right to information for the people by inserting section 33A.
  • Every elected candidate for the House of Parliament must provide information about his assets and liabilities within 90 days of taking his oath or affirmation.
  • There is also a provision for a penalty for filing false affidavits by the insertion of a new section 125A.

Representation of Peoples Act 2010

  • On August 21, 2010, the Minister of Law and Justice, Shri M. Veerappa Moily, introduced the Representation of People's Act 2010.
  • The Bill allows for all citizens to be enrolled in electoral rolls in the constituency in which their place of residence in India is mentioned in their passport.
  • A required verification is needed for the enrollment of the electoral officer.
  • The Bill allows the registration on the electoral rolls of a person who is:
  • Citizens of India.
  • Not enrolled in the electoral rolls.
  • Don't have the citizenship of another country.
  • Are absent from the ordinary place of residence.

Salient Features of Representation of Peoples Act 1951

The following are the highlights of the Representation of the Peoples Act 1951:

  • A person convicted of any offence and sentenced to at least two years in prison is disqualified from the date of his conviction and remains disqualified for a period of six years after his release.
  • There is a provision for the appointment of a presiding officer (District Election Officer) for polling stations.
  • Disqualification for corrupt practices, dismissal for corruption or disloyalty, or failure to file an election expense account; if the election commission is satisfied.
  • Every political party may accept any amount of contribution offered to it by any person or company other than a government company. Furthermore, no political party shall be permitted to accept any foreign contributions.
  • If a party secures 6% of valid votes in four or more states at a general election or to a state legislative assembly and, in addition, wins four Lok Sabha seats from any state or any of the states, (a party wins 2% of seats in Lok Sabha from three states, it is recognized as a national party).
  • A party is recognized as a state party if it receives 6% of valid votes in the general election for the state legislative assembly and also wins two seats in the Legislative Assembly.
  • The court having the jurisdiction to try an election petition shall be the High Court.

Offences of Representation of Peoples Act 1951

The offences of the Representation of People's Act 1951 are as follows:

  • Fostering class animosity in connection with elections based on religion, race, community, caste, or language
  • Public meeting during a period of 48 hours ending with the fixed conclusion of the poll of any election in the polling areas.
  • sold, given, or distributed liquor on the polling day.
  • The offence of booth capturing
  • Removing the ballot papers from the polling booths.
  • A person in the service of the government acts as an election agent or polling agent for a candidate at an election.
  • Breaches of official duty in connection with the election.
  • Misconduct of a person at the polling station or failing to obey the lawful direction of the presiding officer

Representation of Peoples Act 1951 UPSC

Representation of People's Act or RPA act 1951 UPSC topic and its Amendment i.e RPA 1966, RPA 2002, RPA 2010, etc. is important to both UPSC Prelims as well as for UPSC Mains exam of General Studies Paper 2 of Indian Polity.

Here we provided you with the comprehensive notes of the Representation of Peoples Act 1951 UPSC. To prepare this topic or other relevant topics related to Indian Polity or current affairs. You can also download the NCERT Books for UPSC or Indian Polity UPSC Books from here.

The Aspirants who are going to appear at UPSC-CSE can also get UPSC Syllabus. Here aspirants are also facilitated with UPSC Previous Year Question Paper and other study materials.

>> Download Representation of People's Act 1951 UPSC Notes PDF

Representation of Peoples Act 1951 UPSC Prelims Question

Question - Consider the following statements about Delimitation Commission:

  1. The 84th Amendment to the Constitution in 2002 had put a freeze on the delimitation of Lok Sabha.
  2. The Delimitation Commission is appointed by the Central government and has 5 members.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both
  4. None

Answer - A

Question - Which of the following are correct regarding the provisions of RPA 1951?

  1. Qualifications of the voter
  2. Administrative machinery for the conduct of elections
  3. Registration of the party

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. All of the above

Answer - B

Other Important UPSC Notes
Attorney General of IndiaSimon Commission
Wahabi MovementPESA ACT 1996
Ujjawala SchemeNational Investigation Agency
Ganga River SystemCentral Information Commission
International OrganizationsLokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013
Brahmo SamajBattle of Plassey 1757

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FAQs for Representation of Peoples Act 1951

  • The provision of the Representation of People's Act 1951 is-

    • Qualification and disqualification for the membership of the Parliament and state legislatures also provide grounds for the disqualification.
    • Disqualification on the ground of corrupt practices, corruption, or disloyalty, for failure to lodge an account of election expenses.
  • A party secures 6% of valid votes in the general election to the state legislative assembly and in addition, wins two seats of the Legislative Assembly  / If a party secures 6% of valid votes in the general election to the Lok Sabha and in addition to win one Lok Sabha seat from that state. The party should win 3% of the seat in the state legislative assembly or three seats in the state legislative assembly whichever is higher is recognized as State Party.

    • Qualifications of the voters
    • Preparation of the electoral rolls
    • Allocation of the seats of the Parliament and Legislature.
    • Sold, given, or distributed liquor on the polling day.
    •  The offence of booth capturing.
    •  Removal of ballot paper from the polling station, etc.

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