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HC seeks Centre's reply on plea to review political parties having names with religious connotations

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought response of the Centre and the Election Commission (EC) on a plea for barring political parties from having names with religious connotations and symbols similar to the national flag.

PTI PTI
New Delhi Published on: July 17, 2019 20:33 IST
HC seeks Centre's reply on plea to review political parties
Image Source : PTI

HC seeks Centre's reply on plea to review political parties having names with religious connotations

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought response of the Centre and the Election Commission (EC) on a plea for barring political parties from having names with religious connotations and symbols similar to the national flag.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued fresh notices to the central government and the EC seeking their stand on the plea by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

The court listed the matter for further hearing on November 5, before which the authorities have to file their affidavits.

While the court had earlier on May 24 issued notices to authorities, the order did not mention it.

On Wednesday, the bench was informed by the counsel for the EC and the petitioner about it after which the court issues fresh notices to authorities.

Advocate P R Chopra, representing the EC, said if there is any issue, a party is informed at the time of registration that it cannot be registered with a particular name.

Upadhyay, also a lawyer, has contended in his plea that the use of names with religious connotations or symbols similar to the national flag or emblem might prejudicially affect the poll prospects of a candidate and would amount to a corrupt practice under the Representation of the People Act (RPA) of 1951.

"Review the political parties, registered with caste, religious, ethnic or linguistic connotations and ensure that they are not using a flag, similar to the national flag, and de-register them if they fail to change it within three months," the plea has said.

The petition has claimed that such a step would help to ensure free and fair elections.

It has referred to political parties such as Hindu Sena, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and Indian Union Muslim League as examples of names with religious connotations and said this was "against the spirit" of the RPA and the Model Code of Conduct.

"In addition, there are many political parties including the Indian National Congress, which use a flag similar to the national flag, which is also against the spirit of the RPA," the plea has said.

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