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ECI’s Stand To Not Hold Pune Bypoll, As It Is Busy With Other Elections, Hardly Tenable: Bombay HC

A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Kamal Khata said it could understand this position if the elections were to be held in a place like Manipur, where there is unrest. 

Bombay High Court
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The Bombay High Court on Monday said the Election Commission of India's stand that it would not be possible to hold the by-election for the Pune Lok Sabha constituency as it was busy with other polls in the country, including the preparatory activities for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, was "hardly tenable".

A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Kamal Khata said it could understand this position if the elections were to be held in a place like Manipur, where there is unrest. 

"We understand if they (ECI) say they cannot hold elections in a place like Manipur where there is physical unrest," Justice Patel said.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by Pune resident Sughosh Joshi against a certificate issued by the ECI to not hold the bypoll for the constituency.

The post went vacant after the death of Member of Parliament (MP) Girish Bapat on March 29 this year.

The high court had last week sought to know from the ECI if it would hold the by-elections for the Pune constituency.

On Monday, the ECI, through its advocate Pradeep Rajagopal, said it won't be able to hold the elections as it was busy with other polls and the preparatory activities for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. 

The commission further said that even if the polls were held now, the term for the post would end in a year.

Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Kushal Mor argued that the polls were held in other constituencies this year. 

"The by-elections in the other constituencies were held after the vacancy arose in the Pune constituency," Mor said.

The bench directed Mor to place these details in an affidavit and posted the matter for further hearing on December 13.

Joshi, in his plea filed through advocate Dayaar Singla and Shraddha Swarup, said as per section 151A of the Representation of People Act, the vacancy should be filled through a bypoll within six months.

Joshi claimed that in the last few months, the constituents had no voice in the Parliament, especially about significant delays in several developmental projects in Pune.

He further said that not conducting the bypolls was a violation of the right of the electorate.

-With PTI Input

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