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The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to direct the Election Commission to issue common symbol “pressure cooker” to the TTV Dinakaran faction of the AIADMK for its candidates to contest upcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly by-elections in Tamil Nadu. However, the apex court asked the EC to give them a common symbol from among the free symbols available.

The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was emphatic that its order asking the EC to consider granting common election symbol does not mean that the rebel has been recognition as a political party. The faction’s candidates would be treated as independents only.

The EC had on Monday informed the SC that it was not possible to allot a common symbol (pressure cooker) to Dinakaran’s party Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam for contesting the elections in Tamil Nadu, as it was not a ‘registered political party’.

Deputy Election Commissioner Sudip Jain informed a bench of Chief Justice Ranajn Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta in response to the notice to the Commission on a special leave petition filed by Dinakaran against a Delhi High Court order upholding the Commission’s decision to allot ‘two leaves’ symbol to the group led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister, O Panneerselvam.

Taking note of the submissions made by Jain that only registered political parties are entitled to claim a common symbol, the Bench asked the Commission to file an affidavit in this regard and said the matter would be taken up for further hearing on Tuesday.

On March 15, the court said, “The limited prayer by Kapil Sibal, senior counsel for the petitioner is that the petitioner may be allowed to continue with the old symbol, pressure cooker. The Competent authority of the Election Commission of India shall depute a suitable officer to assist the Court on the date fixed i.e. 25.3.2019.”

In his appeal, the party prayed for freezing the ‘two symbol’ and an interim stay of the High Court order. A plea to direct EC to allot alternate symbol till the disposal of the Special leave petition to set aside the order has also been sought.

Dinakaran submitted that the Election Commission failed to afford an opportunity of cross-examination and leading of evidence, when a group demonstrated prima facie that the other group has resorted to forgery, fabrication, coercion and undue influence to engineer majority support in its favour.

The high court failed to consider that it was admitted case of the parties that any alteration in basic structure of the party constitution would render the party as a new being, which argument was not at all considered by the EC and the high court erroneously did not consider the effect of the same.

The SLP pointed out that the high court erred in not taking into account that EC at different stages selectively applied different tests, which had the effect of arriving at a particular outcome at all the stages.

—India Legal Bureau

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