The Allahabad High Court has given the Election Commission of India four weeks to file its reply on a PIL filed against the legality of using election symbols in rallies and demonstrations by political parties.
The petitioner has also been allowed to implead other national parties as respondents. The next hearing of the petition will be on February 22.
This order has been given by a division bench of Justice Sanjay Yadav and Justice Jayant Banerjee on a PIL by Gorakhpur Samajwadi Party leader, social activist Kali Shankar.
The petition has challenged the legitimacy of declaring the lotus, the national flower, as BJP’s election symbol. The issue of misuse of election symbol arose during the hearing. The Representation of the People Act allots the mark to the Law Commission to contest elections, which political parties always use.
The High Court has also raised the question that allowing political parties to always use the election symbol reduces the opportunity for independent candidates to campaign, which is contrary to the standards of fair elections.
The Court sought answers from the Election Commission and the government. Election Commission Advocate B.N. Singh has sought additional time from the Court.