Plea seeking a ban on BJP’s logo: Allahabad HC asks EC to reply

Anushka Mansharamani

The Allahabad High Court has sought a response from the Election Commission of India in a plea that has asked for a ban on the Bharatiya Janata Party symbol (Lotus).

The issue at hand is of the election symbol as according to the Election Commission point put before the court – any symbol of any political party could discriminate against independent candidates.

A Public Interest Litigation was filed by Kali Shankar, SP leader of Chauri Chora. Advocates Kapil Tiwari and GC Tiwari represented the petitioners.

The petition stated that the right to allot any election symbol to a national political party’s vests in the hands of the Election Commission. This right is guaranteed under the Representation of the People Act 1951 and is also stated under the Election Symbol Order, 1968.

In case a party violates the Model Code of Conduct, the Election Commission can forcefully withdraw the party’s recognition.

The petition argues that the election symbol of the BJP is the same as the national symbol of India – Lotus, and, therefore, the symbol must be banned to avoid misuse of the symbol.

The court has also permitted the petitioner to make any other Political Party as a party to the case.

The Court mentioned that the issue has not been raised in the petition – the election symbol is solely allotted for the election and not for other purposes.

But, the advocate for the petitioner asked why the election symbol was allotted to the candidate who was contesting.

The petitioners emphasized the fact that the political parties should not use the election symbol as a party logo as this would be discriminatory for other candidates.

They further stated that Political Parties have campaigns, and independent candidates do not have that exemption as election symbols are given for contesting elections only.

To this, the court stated that many countries do not have election symbols whereas India does, and the Court has no intention of withdrawing this provision.

The advocate representing the Election Commission sought time to contemplate the points put forth and file a reply to the same.

The court will hear the petition on 12th January 2021.