The Top Court issues notice to EC over political parties using religious names

Share on:

SC today issued a notice on a case requesting direction to the ECI to reject the symbol and name allotted to political parties which are using religion or carrying religious connotations in their symbols.

The plea filed by Syed Waseem Rizwi, through advocate Abhikalp Pratap Singh, said the petition deals with the mandate of Representation of People's Act (RPA) 1951 and Constitution and the way constitutional values are part and parcel of RPA and might be witnessed under sections 29A, 123 (3), and 123 (3A) of the Act.

Senior advocate Gaurav Bhatia, representing the petitioner, submitted before a bench comprising Justices M.R. Shah and Justice Krishna Murari that two parties which are recognised state parties have the word "Muslim" in their name, and a few parties have crescent moon and stars in their official flags and questioned, can political parties have a non secular connotation in their name?

Bhatia said as an example Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the party have MPs in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and MLAs in Kerala. He added, "This violates Model Code of Conduct. we'd like to determine, can we pollute the politics?"

Relying on apex court judgment in S.R. Bommai vs Union of India, Bhatia submitted that it had been held by this court that secularism is an element of the essential feature.

The bench, citing Section 123 of RPA, queried whether the bar will apply to political parties, because the section refers to a candidate. Bhatia submitted that if a candidate of a celebration with a spiritual name seeks votes, that candidate are going to be violating RPA and secularism.

After hearing arguments within the matter, the bench issued notice to ECI and secretary, Ministry of Law and Justice, returnable on October 18, and asked the petitioner's counsel to implead concerned political parties within the matter.

"The people must vote on the idea of anything except religion. If a candidate is elected on the premise of spiritual symbol/ name, then the full purpose of enacting sub-clause (3) of Section 123 of RPA would cease to exist", said the plea.

Citing apex court's judgments, the plea said the highest court has given utmost importance to secularism and its impact on the social fabric of the state. "Therefore, by allowing the usage of non secular symbols/ names by the political parties, the committee of India is defying the mandate of the Constitution," added the plea.