Can a byelection to the Lok Sabha be held if the term of the newly elected member is less than a year? Can the byelections announced for Mandya and Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituencies be stayed?
The Karnataka High Court will now examine these questions raised by the Janata Dal(U), Karnataka unit, in its petition questioning the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) decision to hold byelections to Mandya and Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha seats even as less than a year is left for the general elections.
Justice A.S. Bopanna, before whom the petition came up for hearing on Wednesday, said that he would hear the petition on Friday while asking the Advocate-General to assist the court as the issue raised in the petition may require interpretation of law.
It has been contended by the Janata Dal(U) in its petition that the newly elected member will have a term for only about 280 days from the proposed date fixed for announcing the results of the byelections to be held on August 21.
It is also pointed out in the petition that the general elections is due anytime between December 1, 2013 and May 31, 2014 as the term of the Lok Sabha comes to an end on May 31, 2014.
As per Section 151-A of the Representation of People Act, the petition says, no byelection can be held if the remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is less than one year.
Meanwhile, Election Commission of India counsel Krishna S. Dixit told the court that it appears there is no decision of the Supreme Court available on the legal issue raised in the petition on the cut-off date for holding byelections while seeking time till Friday to make further verification.
Senior counsel D.N. Nanjunda Reddy, who appeared for the Janata Dal(U), pointed out that there is no bar on staying a byelection till the court decided the contentions raised in the petition as the Election Commission is scheduled to issue a notification on the calendar of events for the byelections on July 27.