Centre’s reply sought on plea over parties with religious connotation

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the Centre to file a response to a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking directions to the Election Commission (EC) to review political parties having names with religious connotation and those using symbols similar to that of the national flag.

A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Anup J. Bhambhani also asked the EC to file a reply and listed the matter for further hearing on July 17.

The court also asked the petitioner to file an affidavit with additional ground in the petition.

The court was hearing the petition by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay who had sought directions to the poll panel to de-register political parties with religious connotations and those using symbols similar to that of the national flag, if they do not change them within three months.

Upadhyay said the use of names with religious connotations or symbols similar to the national flag or emblem might have a prejudicial effect on the electoral prospects of a candidate and would amount to corrupt practice under the Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951.

“At present there are many political parties such as Hindu Sena, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Indian Union Muslim League and others with religious, caste, ethnic, linguistic connotations,” the plea said.

“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,” it added. IANS

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