HC seeks EC response on plea challenging certain provisions on allocation of poll symbols

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Lucknow, Jan 5 (PTI) The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday asked the Election Commission (EC) to file its response on a PIL challenging certain provisions related to the allotment of election symbols by the poll panel to state parties and registered unrecognised parties.

The Lucknow bench comprising Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Ramesh Sinha passed the order on the petition moved by one Shraddha Tripathi.

It granted six weeks to the EC to file its reply.

The petitioner challenged the validity of paragraphs 10, 10A and 10-B of the Symbol Order 1968 that empower the Election Commission to allow registered 'unrecognised' parties to use a common symbol for their candidates or recognised state parties to use their symbol in other states subject to certain conditions.

These 'concessions' are for candidates fielded by a state party in elections in other states or union territories, those fielded by any unrecognised party which was earlier recognised as a national or state party and candidates nominated by newly registered (unrecognised) parties and to unrecognised parties which were recognised parties more than six years back.

The petitioner contended that the election symbols are not being allotted by the Returning Officer but by the Commission and that it is not in consonance with the provisions of Rule 10 (4) of the Conduct of Election Rules, 19611.

The counsel for the Election Commission raised certain objections regarding the maintainability of the petition and stated that the matter raised in the plea need not be examined as the apex court has already given certain judgments in this regard.

However, the bench said, “Looking at the issue involved in the PIL, we deem it appropriate to have a counter of the petition. The EC , therefore, is directed to file a counter to the petition within a period of six weeks from today.” PTI COR SAB RT RT RT