EC`s plea to apex court on common symbols

The EC urged the SC not to pass any orders for allotment of common election symbols to unrecognized political parties facing elections in the five States of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala, West Bengal and Assam.

Last Updated: Mar 11, 2011, 22:44 PM IST

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Thursday
urged the Supreme Court not to pass any orders for allotment
of common election symbols to unrecognized political parties
facing elections in the five States of-Tamil Nadu, Puducherry,
Kerala, West Bengal and Assam.

Appearing for the poll panel, senior counsel Ashok
Desai told a bench of justices Altamas Kabir and AK Patnaik
that it would not be desirable for the apex court to pass any
orders on the plea made by 13 political parties as it should
be the discretion of the commission on their allotment.

He pointed out that the earlier direction passed in
2009 by the apex court during the last Parliamentary elections
alloting common symbols to three political parties, Praja
Rajyam, DMDL and Lok Satta, were erroneous in law.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi appearing for some
political parties in Tamil Nadu, however, assailed the
Election Commission rules restricting the allotment of common
symbols only to recognized political parties.

Under the Election Commission rules, common symbols
are alloted only to those registered political parties which
poll a minimum of six percent of the total votes polled in the
State and secured at least two Assembly seats.

"Unlike the spectrum which is a scarce resource,
election symbols are not scarce so there should not be any
problem for the Election Commission to restrict common
symbols," he remarked amidst laughter in the court.

Allocation of spectrum has been in the news following
the country`s biggest 2G spectrum scandal which, according to
the Comptroller and Auditor General, led to an estimated loss
of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer.

The apex court after hearing the arguments posted the
matter for final orders next week.

PTI