The Supreme Court on Monday stayed a Bombay High Court order that had directed the Election Commission of India to immediately hold a bye-poll for the Pune Lok Sabha seat, PTI reported.

The constituency has been vacant since Bharatiya Janata Party MP Girish Bapat died on March 29.

The Supreme Court took note of the Election Commission’s contention that holding the bye-poll at this stage would be futile as the tenure of the Lok Sabha will end on June 16.

However, a bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said it would lay down the law in this regard in March or April, The Indian Express reported.

On December 13, the High Court, while telling the poll panel to hold the bye-election, had said that not doing so would be unconstitutional. It described as bizarre the Election Commission’s argument that holding the bye-poll would be a challenge as most of its resources have been engaged in planning the Lok Sabha election since March 2023.

The bench pointed out that several Legislative Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies had held bye-polls since the Pune seat became vacant.

The Election Commission then filed a special leave petition against the order before the Supreme Court. The poll panel contended that as per the Representation of Peoples Act, a bye-election need not be held for a seat if the remainder of its term is less than a year.