Tanisha Rana

Published on: November 1, 2022 at 20:59 IST

The Supreme Court dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition on Tuesday that was submitted by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

In it, Upadhyay asked the court to order the Election Commission to stop using party symbols on ballots and Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and to substitute “name, age, educational qualification, and photograph” instead.

The case cannot be taken into consideration under Article 32 of the Constitution, according to a bench that included Chief Justice of India (CJI) UU Lalit and Justice Bela M Trivedi.

“Election is integrally connected to the political party which backs the particular candidate. It is possible that after being elected the person joins another party,” the bench stated while disposing of the plea.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh made the case on behalf of the petitioner that individuals were becoming entirely lost in the political party’s shadow as a result of the way that parties were now being publicised.

“That is why legislators have criminal cases against them,” he added stating that such symbols brazenly violate equality.

R. Venkataramani, Attorney General for India, disagreed with the argument, arguing that voters chose their candidates considerably earlier than the EVM, which was used to tally the results of the election.

He also said that a candidate must have all of their information disclosed beforehand.

So symbol being mischievous part of it is misconceived. Larger questions on criminalisation of politics etc is a different issue. But on this, I do not think the petition can stand”, he stated.

Thus, the bench dismissed the plea despite noting the respondents’ assertion that the relevant authority would take the petitioner’s representation into account.

According to the petition submitted by Upadhyay, replacing political party symbols on ballots and electronic voting machines with the names, ages, education qualifications, and photographs of the candidates is the greatest way to eradicate corruption and criminalization in politics.

The petition also noted that ballots and EVMs without political party symbols have several advantages since they will encourage voters to vote and support candidates who are qualified, responsible, and honest.

Ballot and EVMs, without political party symbol, will control dictatorship of political party bosses in ticket distribution and force them to give ticket to those who religiously work for people’s welfare,” it said.

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