KC(M) symbol row: HC rejects P J Joseph plea challenging EC's order

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Kochi, Nov 20 (PTI) The Kerala High Court on Friday dismissed a petition filed by senior Kerala Congress leader P J Joseph challenging the Election Commission's order recognising the Jose K Mani faction as the official Kerala Congress (M) and alloting the party's symbol to it.

Justice N Nagaresh said the conclusions arrived at by the Election Commission were based on materials available before the EC.

'The conclusions of the Commission cannot be said to be perverse and it cannot be said that no reasonable person can arrive at such conclusions.

The Court cannot, in exercise of the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, interfere with the said finding of fact,' the court said.

In a majority verdict, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra had held that the Jose K Mani faction was the Kerala Congress (Mani) and entitled to use its name and its reserved symbol Two Leaves' for the purposes of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.

The dispute in the party arose between vice- chairman Jose and working chairman Joseph following the death of party chairman K M Mani last year.

The matter reached the poll panel late last year.

Challenging the EC decision, Joseph had submitted that Jose K Mani raised a claim that he was elected chairman of the party at a state committee meeting held on June 16 last year but a civil court held that the election was not, prima facie, valid.

'However, Jose K Mani approached the election commission claiming majority in the 450-member state committee.

Finding that there were differences in the lists of state committee members submitted before it, the election commission created a list of 305 members who were common in both the lists and applied a majority test, which resulted in the order,' Joseph had said in the plea.

In its order, the high court said, as both the lists produced by the rival factions were unreliable, the Election Commission proceeded to decide the numerical strength based on majority of members admitted by both sides.

'Such action of the Commission cannot be found fault with, in the circumstances of the case...Therefore, the Election Commission was justified in adopting a course available to it, in the facts and circumstances of the case,' Justice N Nagaresh said.PTI COR TGB BN WELCOME BN WELCOME