Independent Candidates

Why is it in News?

Due to 2019 being the year for General Elections, issues related to ‘Independent Candidates’ is frequently seen in the news.

Who is an Independent Candidate?

  • An independent candidate is one who contests polls without being affiliated to any political party.
  • Independents often support policies that are different from major political parties.
  • More and more independents have been contesting Lok Sabha elections since the first general election of 1951-52, but the number of winners has been decreasing. The vote percentage polled by them has also been decreasing.

How are Independent Candidates different from Candidates of Political Parties?

  • As per Representation of People Act 1951, a candidate of a political party needs only one proposer for filing the nomination but an independent candidate needs 10 proposers from the same constituency to file his/her nomination.
  • Candidate from political parties contest elections on their party symbol but independent candidates are allowed to choose 3 free symbols listed by the Election Commission.

Can an Independent Candidate join any Political Party after Winning?

As per the Xth schedule, an independent candidate cannot join any party after he wins the election as it will amount to defection.

What is the Stand of Law Commission on the issue of Independent Candidates?

In its 255th report, the Law Commission of India sparked a debate when it recommended that independent candidates be barred from contesting elections as ‘they are either not serious or contest elections just to confuse the voters.’

Source: TH, Constitution of India (D.D. Basu), Indian Polity M. Laxmikanth