Yogendra Yadav-led Swaraj India on Wednesday received a blow after the Delhi High Court dismissed it’s petition for a common symbol in the upcoming MCD polls in the national capital next month.
The high court dismissed the party's plea, saying “….. 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. Instead, its candidates are required to choose from one of the free symbols notified by the respondent State Election Commission.
In its 45-page judgement Justice Hima Kohli said it was too late and the court will not interfere into the electoral process.
Justice Kohli accepted the election commission’s submission that unrecognized registered political parties like Swaraj India and independent candidates cannot seek parity with the national or state political parties for grant of a common symbol to them as “neither the DMC Act, nor do the DMC Rules contemplate recognition or derecognition of political parties and the said power is vested in and exercised only by the Election Commission of India (ECI) and not the state election commission.”
“Therefore, candidates nominated by registered unrecognized political parties are treated as independent candidates by the state election commission for all practical purposes including allotment of free symbols and they are not given any preference over independent candidates.”
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.
The pasrty 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 Yadav and advocate Prashant Bhushan, who were expelled from the 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, unreasonable and selective.”
It has also challenged the February 21, 2017 and March 7, 2017, orders of the state poll panel declining the party's request for a common symbol. .
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.
Read the Judgment here.