New Delhi, Oct 9: Defending its decision to hold by-election in the three Lok Sabha constituencies in Karnataka, the Election Commission on Tuesday said that they have followed Section 151A of the Representation of the People Act, which mandates the Commission to fill the vacancies through by-election within six months.
In a statement, the Commission said that “Section 151A of the Representation of the People Act mandates the Election Commission to fill the casual vacancies in Parliament and Assemblies through by-elections within six months from the date of the vacancy, provided the remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is one year or more”.
The controversy erupted after the Commission announced by-polls in Bellary (ST), Shimoga and Mandya in Karnataka on November 3, but did not announce by-polls in five Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh.
However the Commission said that “vacancies from Bellary (ST), Shimoga and Mandya occurred between May 18 and 21 whereas vacancies from the five parliamentary constituencies from Andhra Pradesh occurred on June 20”.
It further said that “the term of the 16th Lok Sabha is up to June 3, 2019. As the vacancies from Karnataka have occurred more than one year before the expiration of the term of House, the by-elections are required to be held within six months”.
The poll body said in the case of vacancies from Andhra Pradesh, there was no need to hold by-elections as the remaining term of the Lok Sabha was less than one year from the date of occurrence of vacancies: June 20.
Both the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP questioned the Election Commission’s decision to hold by-election as the Lok Saha election will be held within 4-5 months and they said it is a loss for the exchequer.
Karnataka BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah also had questioned the Commission’s decision.
The by-election occurred due to the resignation of Yeddyurappa (Shimoga), B Sriramulu (Ballari) and JD(S) MP C S Puttaraju (Mandya) to contest the Assembly election in May.(UNI)