SC declines common symbols to political parties
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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.


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

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