What are Bypolls or By-elections? (TH)

Context: Byelections to three Rajya Sabha seats — two from Gujarat and one from Assam — would be held on March 1, the Election Commission said.

Analysis

What are Bypolls? 

  • By-elections or bypolls are used to fill elected offices that have become vacant between general elections.
  • Under the following circumstances, bypolls can occur for a seat:
  1. When the incumbent dies or resigns.
  2. When the incumbent becomes ineligible to continue in office.
  3. When a constituency election is invalidated by voting irregularities.
  • When a candidate wins a seat after the bypolls he or she will remain in office till the Lok Sabha/Assembly dissolves.

Time limit for By-elections

  • According to Section 151A of Representation of the People Act 1951, the time limit for a bypoll to fill vacancies either for parliament or legislative assembly is six months from the date of occurrence of vacancy provided that nothing contained in this section shall apply if –
  1. The remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is less than one year; or
  2. The Election Commission in consultation with the Central Government certifies that it is difficult to hold the by election within the said period (the Election Commission had postponed Rajya Sabha polls, byelections and civic body elections in the wake of the pandemic).
  • A Panchayat/Municipality reconstituted after premature dissolution (i.e. before the expiry of the full period of 5 years) shall continue for the remainder of the period.
  • But if the remainder of the period is less than 6 months, it shall not be necessary to hold elections.
  • A person cannot be a member of both Houses of Parliament at the same time under the Representation of People Act (1951).
  1. If a person is elected to both the Houses of Parliament, he must intimate within 10 days in which House he desires to serve.
  2. If a sitting member of one House is also elected to the other House, his seat in the first House becomes vacant.
  3. If a person is elected to two seats in a House, he should exercise his option for one, otherwise, both seats become vacant.

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