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Supreme Court: Central Government and Election Commission should respond on political parties using religious names and symbols

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The Supreme Court has asked for a response from the Union Government and the Election commission of India on the plea about political parties using religious names and symbols.

A bench comprising of Justice MR Shah and Justice Krishna Murari have given Waseem Rizvi the liberty to implead the political parties against whom relief has been sought.

While the hear was going on,the petitioner counsel  Senior Advocate Gaurav Bhatia said that several  political parties violate Representation of People Act, 1951 (RP Act) including few who have crescent moon & stars as their flag.

The bench posed a question asking if the RP Act would be applicable if votes are asked on the grounds of religious beliefs?

Counsel for answering this question referred to Section 123(3)(A) of Act and the Abhiram Singh case judgement by Supreme Court.

The counsel said that the political parties cannot have a religious connotation,adding that  SR Bommai case has held secularism to be part of basic feature.

Rizvi has contended in his plea that using religion for luring voters is strictly prohibited under the RP Act by way of Section 123

The petitioner counsel added that the statute prohibits a candidate to mix religious feelings for the  political benefits.

Rizvi contended “The reasoning for such prohibition flows from the constitutional mandate of secularism which although never denies presence of any supreme or supernatural power governing the Indians, it does not favour any religion on the cost of others”.

The plea also added that the structure of the constitution is not subject to the amendments and that the democratic form of government is one of the basic structures of the Constitution.

Rizvi said “The people must vote on the basis of anything except religion. If candidate is elected on the basis of religious symbol/name, then the whole purpose of enacting sub-clause (3) of Section 123 of RP Act would ceases to exit,” added Rizvi.

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