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Supreme Court Issues Notice On Plea To Ban Political Parties Using Religious Names & Symbols

Deepankar Malviya
5 Sep 2022 6:28 AM GMT
Supreme Court Issues Notice On Plea To Ban Political Parties Using Religious Names & Symbols
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The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice on a writ petition which sought for ban of political parties which use names and symbols with religious connotations.A bench comprising Justices MR Shah and Justice Krishna Murari was considering a PIL filed by Syed Wazeem Rizvi seeking to enforce the mandate of Section 29A, 123(3) and 123(3A) of the Representation of People's Act,...

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice on a writ petition which sought for ban of political parties which use names and symbols with religious connotations.

A bench comprising Justices MR Shah and Justice Krishna Murari was considering a PIL filed by Syed Wazeem Rizvi seeking to enforce the mandate of Section 29A, 123(3) and 123(3A) of the Representation of People's Act, 1951 (ROPA) which prohibits the luring of the voters on ground of their religion.

Senior Advocate Gaurav Bhatia, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that two parties which are recognised state parties have the word "Muslim" in their name. Some parties have crescent moon and stars in their official flags. He said that the petition listed several other parties which have religious names. He also placed reliance on the Supreme Court bench judgment of S. R. Bommai vs Union of India and submitted that, "it was held by this court that Secularism is part of the basic feature."

"Can political parties have in their name a religious connotation?", the counsel asked.

Referring to the text of Section 123 of the RP Act, the bench asked a query as to whether the bar will apply to political parties, as the section refers to a candidate.

"Are the parties running for election... like Indian Union muslim League they are not running for election neither are Hindu Ekta Dal?", Justice Shah asked.

"If a candidate of a party with a religous name seeks votes, he will be violating RP Act and secularism", the counsel replied.

"Take IUML, they have MPs in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and MLAs in Kerala. This violates Model Code of Conduct. We need to see can we pollute the politics?", Bhatia submitted.

Reliance was also placed on the 7 judge bench judgment of the Supreme Court in Abhiram Singh vs C. D. Commachen.

The bench after hearing the matter issued notice to the Election Commission of India returnable on 18th October. Court also asked for the political parties against which reliefs have been sought to be impleaded in the matter.

Case Title : Syed Wazeem Rizvi versus Election Commission of India WP(c) 908/2021


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