SC declines common symbols to political parties

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 20:22

New Delhi: Unrecognized political parties
contesting coming assembly elections in five states, including
Tamil superstar Vijaykant`s Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam
(DMDK), on Wednesday suffered a setback with the Supreme Court
declining to entertain their plea for common symbols.



A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph
declined to grant any interim relief to 11 unrecognized
political parties seeking common symbols but said it would
take up on May 3 for final disposal the batch of petitions
and cross appeal filed by the Election Commission on the
issue.
"It would certainly be to the advantage of the registered
unrecognized political parties if they were able to put up
candidates on a common symbol. On the other hand, if all
registered unrecognized political parties were to be provided
with a common symbol, prima facie, it would render the
provisions of the Election Symbols Order, 1968, completely
unworkable and destroy the very object it seeks to achieve.



"Having regard to the aforesaid two possibilities, we are
not inclined to make any interim arrangement similar to that
made on an earlier occasion", the apex court said in a
judgement.



The apex court said the precedent set by it in 2009 by
alloting common symbols as an interim arrangement to three
political parties, Praja Rajyam, Lok Satta and DMDK cannot be
followed this time asthere were more number of unrecognized
political parties in this year`s elections scheduled between
April and May.



DMDL and the other aggreived political parties had moved
the apex court seeking allotment of common symbols to fight
the election as India has a predominantly illiterate
electorate mostly relying on symbols to chose their
candidates.
The petitioners had contended that in view of Paragraph
6B of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order,
1968, only recognized political parties are entitled to common
symbols whereas unrecognized political parties can use only
the free symbols alloted by the Election Commission.



Under election rules, common symbols are alloted only to
those parties which obtain a certain minimum number of seats
and votes in the preceding elections.



"The earlier interim arrangement was possible on account
of the lesser number of parties but in the present
circumstances, the same will not be workable in view of the
number of candidates who are likely to contest the elections
and are required to be provided with free symbols in each
constituency.



"However, while we are not inclined to make any interim
arrangement regarding the allotment of election symbols for
the forthcoming assembly elections, we make it clear that this
is only a tentative view which shall not, in any way, affect
the final outcome of the pending writ petitions and special
leave petitions," the bench said.



The apex court further said that its today`s order
will not prevent the Election Commission from considering any
representation that may be made by the political parties for
accommodating their prayer for a common symbol.



The Election Commission had opposed the petitions
filed by the political parties on the ground that it had
limited common symbols for allotment and only recognized
political parties are entitled to it. It has also challenged
the March 27, 2009, judgement of the apex court alloting
common symbols to the three political parties.



PTI



First Published: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 20:22

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