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The Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court on Tuesday struck down the notification issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI) for holding a by-election for Akola West assembly constituency.

The by-election was declared after BJP MLA Gowardhan Sharma expired on November 3 last year. (HT file photo)

The division bench of Justice Anil Kilor and Justice MS Jawalkar struck down the by-election program as there was less than a year left to end the present assembly’s term.

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The present Maharashtra assembly’s term is scheduled to expire on November 26, 2024, and therefore, a by-election was not permissible under Section 151(A) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

The by-election was declared after BJP MLA Gowardhan Sharma, who represented the constituency, expired on November 3 last year.

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The polling for the by-election was scheduled for April 26, and counting votes on June 4.

The court passed the order on a petition filed by Akola resident Anil Shivkant Dubey, a businessman and environmental activist, who had challenged the ECI notification, issued on March 16, for holding the by-election.

According to his lawyer, advocate VB Gandhi, the notification declaring the by-election was in contravention of Section 151(A) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which prescribes that “a by-election for filling up the vacancy shall be held within a period of 6 months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy, provided that the same shall not apply if the remainder of the term in relation to the vacancy is less than one year.

Advocate Gandhi said the incoming member would hardly get less than 3 months in the assembly, so the notification was in gross violation of Section 151(A).

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