Representation Act Changes: What They Mean for Indian Politics and Democracy


The largest democracy in the world, India has experienced significant political change over the years. The Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2021, which fundamentally alters how Indian politics operates, is one such recent development.

In this blog, we'll tell you about the Representation Act Changes: What They Mean for Indian Politics and Democracy. The Act has become a topic of discussion and has gained the attention of many; while some people praise it as a modern approach towards democratization, others criticize it for having the potential to erode democracy itself.

Background of the Representation of People Act (RPA)

The Indian Constitution's Part XV contains Articles 324 to 329 that describe the nation's electoral process. The Constitution grants the Parliament the authority to enact laws for all issues related to elections for the State Legislature and the Parliament.

  • Seat distribution in the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assemblies through direct elections is provided for by this Act.
  • Election eligibility requirements for the electorate.
  • The process of determining the boundaries of the Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies. The size of the constituencies would be determined by the Delimitation Commission.
  • The Indian President has the right to modify the constituencies after proper consultation with the Election Commission.
  • Putting together the electoral roll. One can only sign up for one constituency at a time. He or she may be disqualified from voting if it is found that they are not an Indian citizen or that they are of unsound mind.

The Representation of the People Act (RPA) 1966

Below are a few points on the given act:

  • This Act lays out guidelines for how elections will be held in India.
  • Additionally, it discusses illegal election-related activities and corruption.
  • The Act includes provisions for dispute resolution in election-related matters.
  • Additionally, it discusses the eligibility requirements and explanations for disqualifying MPs and MLAs.

Amendment in Representation of the People Act of 1966

Election tribunals were eliminated by this amendment. The High Courts now handle election petitions. The Supreme Court of India directly hears disputes relating to the presidential and vice presidential elections.

Amendment Year Provisions
Representation of People Act (RPA) 1951 Conduct of elections in India, provisions for dispute redressal, qualification/disqualification of MPs and MLAs.
R.P. Amendment Act 1966 Abolished election tribunals, and transferred election petitions to High Courts.
R.P. Amendment Act 1988 Provisions for adjournment/countermanding of polling due to booth capturing and EVMs.
R.P. Amendment Act 2002 Right to information for voters, candidates required to declare prior convictions/accusations, declaration of assets and liabilities.
R.P. Amendment Bill 2010 NRIs granted voting rights, but not the right to contest elections or vote in absentia.
R.P. Amendment and Validation Bill 2013 Persons in police custody/jail can file nomination for election if their name is on the electoral roll, even if prohibited from voting.
R.P. Amendment Bill 2017 Allows for proxy voting of NRIs, gender-neutral provisions of the Acts.

Important Features of RPA, 1951

The main elements of the Representation of People are:

  • Only eligible voters may cast ballots in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha elections.
  • For seats designated for people from Scheduled Caste and Tribe communities, only candidates from those groups are eligible to run.
  • The candidate may also be excluded from consideration for pertinent government contracts if they have engaged in any corrupt behavior.
  • Failure to disclose one's assets can also lead to disqualification. The candidate is required to disclose all of his/her assets and debts within 90 days of taking the oath of office.
  • All political parties must register with the Election Commission in accordance with the Act. The Commission must be notified of any changes to the party's name or address.
  • Any Indian citizen or company may donate to a party, but those that are owned by the government are not permitted to do so. Foreign organizations are not allowed to contribute, either.
  • Every political party is required to disclose any donation over 20,000 received from an individual or business.
  • A party is considered a national party if it wins at least 2% of Lok Sabha seats from at least three states or at least 6% of the valid votes for state assembly elections in at least four states.

What are the RPA 1951's Definitions of Election-Related Offenses?

Below are a few points:

  • Encouraging animosity and hatred.
  • Failure to perform official duties and endorse any candidate.
  • Capturing and removing ballots from the voting booth.
  • Selling alcohol within two days of voting will be completed.
  • 48 hours prior to a vote, announcing public meetings and causing disturbances.


Q1. What is the representation system in India?

Ans: This system divides the entire country into 543 constituencies, each of which elects a single representative. The candidate declared elected in each constituency is the one who received the most votes there.

Q2. What is the Amendment in the Representation of People Act 1951?

Ans: By amending the Representation of the People Act of 1951, it gave voters a legal right to information that would help them make an informed decision about a candidate.

Q3. What is the Representation of People Act 2010?

Ans: The Amending Act grants voting rights to Indian citizens who are away from their usual residence due to work, school, or other reasons outside of India.

Q4. What is the Representation of People Act?

Ans: Election tribunals were eliminated by this amendment. The High Court now handles election petitions. But the Supreme Court of India directly hears disputes relating to the presidential and vice presidential elections.

Updated on: 15-May-2023


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