Bombay High Court Seeks Reply From ECI For Not Conducting By-Poll In Pune Constituency

Bombay High Court Seeks Reply From ECI For Not Conducting By-Poll In Pune Constituency

The HC was hearing a petition filed by Sughosh Joshi from Pune challenging the certificate issued by ECI to not hold by-election to the Constituency

Rahul MUpdated: Thursday, December 07, 2023, 10:20 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | File

The Bombay High Court asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to provide a satisfactory reply on December 11 as to why it has not held a by-election for Pune Lok Sabha constituency within six months following the death of a sitting Member of Parliament (MP). 

MP Girish Bapat passed away on March 29 this year, following which his seat fell vacant. 

A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Kamal Khata has said that it will pass an order on Monday, December 11, in case the ECI fails to give a satisfactory response. The HC was hearing a petition filed by Sughosh Joshi from Pune challenging the certificate issued by ECI to not hold by-election to the Constituency.

The judges said they did not agree with the ECI’s reasoning that if the by-elections were held then the returned candidate would hardly have three-four months of work as MP. Besides, the  ECI claimed that it would affect its preparatory activities for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The plea contended that as per section 151A of the 1951 law, the vacancy should be filled through by-poll within six months, therefore the same should have been held by September 28, this year. It claimed that the constituents had no voice in Parliament, especially for issues related to significant delays in several developmental projects in Pune.

The petitioner had filed a representation to the ECI in September, however he did not receive any reply following which he approached the HC. 

Not conducting by-polls was in violation of the right of the electorate as well as the statutory compliances and reasons given by the ECI were not valid, the petitioner contended. Also, since 15 months were left since Bapat’s demise, which is 25 percent of the total tenure (five years) of the MP, the ECI could have conducted the bypoll, it added.

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