There is no bar on the Election Commission of India to fill up the casual vacancy even if the remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is less than one year, the Gauhati High Court has observed.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Ajit Singh and Justice Manojit Bhuyan was considering an appeal against a single bench dismissal of writ petition, wherein a press note of the Election Commission of India notifying bye-election was challenged on the ground that since remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is less than one year, bye-election to fill up the vacancy is uncalled for.
The Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee had challenged the notification announcing bye-election to 10th Northern Angami-1 (ST) Assembly Constituency in Nagaland, which had become vacant with effect from 24.5.2017.
The court observed that proviso (a) to Section 151 of the Representation of People Act, it is merely an exception to a statutory mandate that bye-election for filling up casual vacancy must be held within six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy.
The proviso does not say that no bye-election shall be held to fill up a vacancy if the remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy was less than one year.