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  Metros   Delhi  30 Mar 2017  Delhi HC dismisses Swaraj plea for common symbol

Delhi HC dismisses Swaraj plea for common symbol

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Mar 30, 2017, 2:55 am IST
Updated : Mar 30, 2017, 6:35 am IST

Swaraj India was floated in October last year by Mr Yadav and Prashant Bhushan.

Yogendra Yadav
 Yogendra Yadav

New Delhi: The Delhi high court dismissed the plea of Yogendra Yadav-led Swaraj India for a common symbol in the upcoming MCD polls asking it to first “make a place for itself under the Sun” and “prove its mettle”.

Justice Hima Kohli rejected the newly-formed political party’s claim that denial of a common symbol to it was a violation of its fundamental rights under the Constitution, saying “the right to elect and be elected is a statutory right and not a fundamental or common law right”.

 

The judge said a newly-formed political party is not entitled as a matter of right to claim exclusive allotment of a common election symbol for the benefit of the candidates nominated by it at the municipal elections.

The high court also said that since the electronic voting machines would now carry photographs of the candidates, it would not be put to any disadvantage if there was no common symbol.

As the plea was filed after several steps in the electoral process had started, it was “very late in the day for the court to interfere”, Justice Kohli noted.

Earlier, on March 23, the high court had asked the Delhi poll panel whether it intends to give a common symbol to political parties like Yogendra Yadav led Swaraj India, which are registered, but unrecognised.

 

The court had posed the query to the commission after senior advocate Shanti Bhushan, appearing for Swaraj India, submitted that a letter was sent to the Delhi government to consider amending the rules for allotment of common symbols to registered, but unrecognised political parties.

Mr Bhushan had made the submissions during arguments on a plea challenging the commission’s decision not to allot a common symbol to Swaraj India to contest the upcoming MCD polls.

Swaraj India claimed that non-allotment of a common symbol to a registered party amounted to discrimination as the Aam Aadmi Party was granted such a relief when it had contested for the first time.

 

Swaraj India has sought quashing of the panel’s March 14, 2017, notification and an April 2016 order which said the nominees of such parties would be treated as independent candidates for allotment of symbols. Swaraj India was floated in October last year by Mr Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, who were expelled from AAP after they questioned Arvind Kejriwal’s leadership.

The party, registered by the Election Commission of India (ECI) in February 2017, has contended that the Delhi symbols order was “wholly illegal, arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable and selective, destroying the very fairness of the proposed electoral process itself”.

 

It has said that providing it a common symbol will create a level playing field among all the political parties, whether recognised or not, and ensure free and fair election.

It has also challenged the February 21, 2017 and March 7, 2017, orders of the poll panel declining the party’s request for a common symbol.

The party has contended that the panel rejected its request for a symbol despite a provision in the ECI rules to provide a common symbol to a registered but unrecognised political party like Swaraj India, which is set to make its election debut in the April 23 MCD polls.

The party said the ECI’s Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) (Amendment) Order allows newly registered political parties to have a common symbol for all their candidates for contesting their first election.

 

The party has claimed that states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal, Kerala, Sikkim and Tripura follow the rule.

Tags: yogendra yadav, swaraj india, delhi high court
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi