ECI Says, Its Decision To Hold LS By-Polls In Karnataka In Accordance With Rules

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New Delhi: As the Election Commission of India faces questions over the need for the exercise when general elections are due early next year, the poll body said that its decision to hold by-polls to three Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka is in accordance with the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

The Commission issued the clarification in the wake of media reports questioning why it had not announced the by-elections to fill five Lok Sabha vacancies from the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, as had been done for Karnataka.

It said vacancies from Bellary (ST), Shimoga and Mandya constituencies of Karnataka occurred on May 18 and May 21, 2018 respectively, whereas vacancies from the five parliamentary constituencies from Andhra Pradesh occurred on June 20. The Commission said Section 151 A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 mandates it to fill the casual vacancies in the Houses of Parliament and state legislatures through bye elections within six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy, provided that the remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is one year or more. The term of the sixteenth Lok Sabha is upto June 3, 2019.

The Commission said, “As the vacancies from Karnataka have occurred more than one year before the expiration of the term of House, bye elections are required to be held under Section 151A of R P Act 1951 to fill these vacancies within six months from the date of occurrence of vacancies, that is 18th and 21st May, 2018.” In the case of vacancies from Andhra Pradesh, there is no need to hold bye elections as the remaining term of the Lok Sabha is less than one year from the date of occurrence of vacancies that is 20th June, 2018, it said in a statement.

The EC had on Saturday announced the by-polls to Shimoga, Bellary and Mandya Lok Sabha constituencies, and Ramanagara and Jamkhandi assembly constituencies would be held on November 3. The counting of votes will be on November 6.

Following the announcement, political parties in the state, while welcoming the schedule for assembly by-polls, expressed “surprise” about the decision to hold by-elections to three Lok Sabha seats.

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