The Supreme Court on Friday asked Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay to serve a copy of his plea, which seeks directions to remove party symbols on ballots and EVMs, to Attorney General K.K. Venugopal. Instead of party symbols, the plea wants the display of name, age, educational qualification and photograph of the candidates in order to provide equal opportunities to them.
A three-judge bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, and Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian heard the matter through video conferencing.
The Chief Justice asked the petitioner, “You object to having symbols on EVM machines tell us how does it prejudice the electoral process?”
Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the party symbol’s popularity overshadows the important aspect i.e. the qualification and eligibility of the candidate which is not mentioned on the EVM.
The CJI asked the petitioner to serve a copy of the petition to the Attorney General of India and said, “We will not issue notice right now.” Following which, the Court has adjourned the proceedings for the further 2 weeks.
The Court was hearing the petition filed by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking a direction to the Election Commission of India to use the name, age, educational qualification and photograph of the candidates on EVMs to provide equal opportunity to contesting candidates and to weed out corruption, criminalization, casteism, communalism, regionalism, linguism and nepotism, the seven menaces of India’s democracy.
The petition says that ballot and EVM without party symbols have many benefits:
(a) It will help electors to vote and support intelligent, diligent and honest candidates, which is not possible in today’s scenario.
(b) It will not only weed out casteism and communalism from our democracy, but also control use of black money and benami transactions in elections.
(c) It will control the dictatorship of political party bosses in ticket distribution and force them to give tickets to those who religiously work for people’s welfare.
(d) Our democracy will be free from the grip of political party bosses.
(e) It will control nepotism and favouritism, one of the gravest menaces to our democracy.
(f) Political parties will be forced to give tickets to local candidates rather than parachute candidates.
(g) It will not only control the criminalization of politics but also keep check on the middle-man and political brokers.
(h) It will open a gateway for social activists, educationists’ jurists intellectuals and public welfare spirited honest people to enter into politics and work for betterment of society.
(i) The entry of honest and diligent people in Parliament and State Assemblies will lead to formation of better laws for people’s welfare
(j) Intelligent, diligent and honest MPs will utilize MPLAD funds effectively.
(k) Efficiency of Parliament and State Assemblies will increase ten times
(l) It will control regionalism- linguism, which has become a serious threat to democratic political systems.
(m) Long pending reforms viz. election reform police reform judicial reform education reform administrative reform industrial reform agriculture reform labour reform tax reform constitutional reform will be done within the year.
The petitioner has submitted that the facts constituting cause of action arose on July 1, 2019 when petitioner came to know that 43 percent MPs have criminal cases against them.