“You will not even get your deposit back”. You should have heard this quite a few times from politicians, when talking about his rival during elections.
But what does a deposit actually mean?
First of all, for a candidate to contest in polls, he or she needs to submit their nomination papers at the EC offices in their respective states. Those whose nominations are found valid should have deposited Rs.10000 as a security Deposit if he/she is contesting for a Lok Sabha seat or Rs.5000 for an Assembly Seat. The amount to be deposited is half the above in the case of candidate under Schedule caste or Schedule tribe.
The amount deposited will either be returned back to the depositor or forfeited to the Government of India according to some conditions.
Conditions when the amount is returned back to the depositor:
- The nomination made by the candidate if found to be invalid.
- The candidate has withdrawn his nomination even though it is found valid.
- The candidate dies before the commencement of polls.
- The candidate lost the polls but secured 1/6th of the total number of valid votes polled in that election.
- The candidate has won the election.
- The candidate has won the election even if he/she has not secured 1/6th of the total valid votes.
- Incase of a SC/ST candidate depositing Rs.10000 or Rs.5000, as the case may be, not knowing the fact that he/she has to deposit only half that amount, the excess amount will be returned back to the candidate.
So effectively, a contestant will only loose his deposit when he loses and doesn’t get at least 1/6th of valid votes. For example, if there are 60000 valid votes polled in a constituency where there are two contestants, A and B. For B to lose his security deposit, A has to get atleast 50000 votes.
Of course, if there are more number of contestants, the votes will be split further and the winning margin would come down. There may even arise a situation when a person who secures less than 10000 votes may win. Hence both the conditions of losing and not getting 1/6th of valid votes must be satisfied to lose a deposit.