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Voters should be able to see name, photograph, symbol of candidates with sufficient clarity: Kerala HC

Bringing on record a photograph of the EVMs in use, the Standing Counsel for the Election Commission Deepu Lal Mohan argued that the party's symbol was clear and visible on the EVM. It was also submitted that any direction from the court would interfere with the free flow of the election.

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Emphasizing upon the importance of being able to see the name, photograph, and symbol with clarity, the Kerala High Court said it is essential for free and fair election. While disposing plea related to the visibility of a party’s symbol on EVM, the court said voters should be able to see name, photograph and symbol of candidates with sufficient clarity.

The bench of Justice N. Nagaresh said it is important and essential that citizens, who are to cast vote, are able to see the name, photograph and symbol of all candidates with sufficient clarity. This is essential for any free and fair election.

Underscoring the need for clear symbols/photographs in the election process, he said it is only then that the voter will be able to know that for whom they are voting and to which party he/she belongs which is indispensable also for the smooth functioning of a healthy democracy. If elections are not free and fair then how can our democracy be termed as healthy and vibrant and how can it ever run smoothly?”

The Court was hearing a petition by Twenty20 which is a registered unrecognized political party. In which, the party claimed that the name, photograph, and symbol of its candidates in the Kothamangalam, Thrikkakkara and Vypin Assembly Constituencies were not clear and visible in the EVMs slated to be used during the Kerala Legislative Assembly polls on April 6, 2021.

Asserting that every citizen had a valuable constitutional right to make a valid choice of candidate after properly seeing and understanding the candidate, name and symbol, the party’s counsel Advocate Blaze K. Jose claimed that their candidates and symbols were not given as much prominence as those of other parties.

The party sought direction from the Election Commission to ensure that the party’s symbols were as clear as those of other candidates on the EVMs. Bringing on record a photograph of the EVMs in use, the Standing Counsel for the Election Commission Deepu Lal Mohan argued that the party’s symbol was clear and visible on the EVM. It was also submitted that any direction from the court would interfere with the free flow of the election.

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Ruling out any intereference considering that the election is scheduled for April 6, 2021 and that the EVMs were prepared and Postal Ballot collected, the Court reasoned that any direction that may be given to the respondents at this stage is likely to slow down the election process.

In the circumstances, the Court stated that it was disposing of the petition directing the Commission to ensure that the name, photograph and symbol of the candidates belonging to the petitioner-Party are sufficiently clear so that voters can make an easy and informed choice.

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