Election Commission tells Bombay High Court it is ‘too busy’ to hold Pune Lok Sabha bypoll

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) has told the Bombay High Court that it is not possible for it to hold the Pune parliamentary bypoll which fell vacant following the death of the Member of Parliament (MP) Girish Bapat on March 29, this year, as they are busy with other elections.

However, the High Court remarked that this wasn’t a justified explanation.

Advocates Pradeep Rajagopal and Drishti Shah appearing for the ECI handed over a two-page letter from Under Secretary Prakash Gupta, ECI to the bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Kamal Khata that said “it is difficult” to hold the election.

Rajagopal said that the ECI was busy with other elections and while stating that it “is not feasible” at this stage, they also pointed to a judgement of the High Court which in 2019 had set aside a bypoll schedule as the incoming member would hardly serve for about five months.

After reading the letter, Justice Patel said, “They are saying they are busy with the other elections, so they cannot hold these elections. We understand if they say they cannot hold elections in a place like Manipur where there is physical unrest.”

The bench was hearing a petition filed by one Sughosh Joshi from Pune through advocates Kushal Mor, Shraddha Swarup and Dayaar Singla.

During the hearing on Monday, Mor then handed a chart where elections to a parliamentary seat have been held even with assembly elections being held in other states.

Justice Patel asked Mor to submit this affidavit and adjourned the petition for further hearing on December 13.

The petitioner had claimed that over the past few months, the constituents had no voice in Parliament, especially about issues related to significant delays in several developmental projects in Pune.

He had filed a representation with ECI on September 21 raising his grievances. However, he availed no response, prompting him to approach the High Court.

Published By:

Aditi Sharma

Published On:

Dec 12, 2023

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