Section 151A of the Representation of the People Act 1951 mandates ECI to fill casual vacancies

It is understood that some newspapers have reported that the Commission on the one hand announced the bye elections to fill the three casual vacancies in Lok Sabha from Karnataka while the bye elections to fill five vacancies in Lok Sabha from Andhra Pradesh have not been announced.

In this connection, it is to be noted that vacancies from 9-Bellary(ST), 14-Shimoga and 20-Mandya Parliamentary Constituencies of Karnataka have occurred on 18th May, 18th May and 21st May, 2018 respectively,  whereas vacancies from the five parliamentary constituencies from Andhra Pradesh have occurred on 20th June, 2018.

Section 151A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 mandates the Election Commission 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 sixteenth Lok Sabha is upto 3rd June, 2019. 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& 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.

Section 151A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 is reproduced below:

151A. Time limit for filling vacancies referred to in sections 147, 149, 150 and 151.—Notwithstanding anything contained in section 147, section 149, section 150 and section 151, a bye-election for filling any vacancy referred to in any of the said sections shall be held within a period of six months from the date of the occurrence of the vacancy: Provided that nothing contained in this section shall apply if— (a) the remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is less than one year; or (b) the Election Commission in consultation with the Central Government certifies that it is difficult to hold the bye-election within the said period.

SBS/MR/AC

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