Questions have been raised over the schedule for the by-elections to Mandrem and Shiroda assembly segments, which will go to polls on April 23.
The April 23 polling goes beyond the period of six months after both the seats fell vacant.
However, the Section 151A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 provides power to the Election Commission of India to finalise the date for filling any vacancy even after completion of six-month period.
The Section 151A states “that notwithstanding anything contained in Section 147, Section 149, Section 150 and Section 151, a bye-election for referred to in any of the said section 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 a year; or (b) the Election Commission in consultation with the central government certifies that it is difficult to hold the bye-election with the said period.”
Former Congress MLAs Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar had resigned on October 16 as legislators of Mandrem and Shiroda respectively. They had joined the Bhartiya Janata Party on the same day.
It was expected that the by-polls to the Mandrem and Shiroda assembly segments would be held before April 16, 2019.
However, the ECI announced that by-elections to the both the constituencies would be held on April 23 along with the polls to both the Lok Sabha seats.
By-poll to the Mapusa assembly seat will also be held on April 23.