HC junks plea against Lok Sabha bypolls

HC junks plea against Lok Sabha bypolls

Dinesh Maheshwari

The Karnataka High Court on Friday declined to grant interim order in a public interest litigation (PIL), stating that Election Commission can proceed with conducting by-elections for Bellary, Shimoga and Mandya parliamentary constituencies.

A division bench, headed by Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, was hearing a petition filed by Ramesh Naik, an advocate and a resident of Tumakuru, who had challenged the by-elections to three Lok Sabha seats, scheduled for November 3, 2018.

The petitioner contended that, considering the tenure of the new members, holding elections is a loss to state exchequer.

The by-elections to the three aforementioned constituencies were necessitated after the elected members resigned to contest the Assembly elections held in May 2018.

The petitioner argued that under the provisions of the Representation of Peoples Act 1951, it is incumbent on the Election Commission of India (ECI) to conduct the by-elections and fill the vacancy within six months from the date of vacancy.

However, the same law provides a provision which states that it is not mandatory to hold by-elections if the tenure of the newly elected members is less than one year.

He further contended that the term of the present Lok Sabha will expire on May 2019 and the general elections are due to be held in April - May 2019 to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha.

In this case the newly elected member will only get five months and two parliamentary sessions to attend.