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BJP Leader Moves Plea In Supreme Court For Removal Of Party Symbols In EVMs

first_imgTop StoriesBJP Leader Moves Plea In Supreme Court For Removal Of Party Symbols In EVMs Live Law News Network29 Oct 2020 6:02 AMShare This – xBJP leader Ashwini Upadhyaya has filed a writ petition before the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Election Commission of India to use the name, age, qualification and photograph of contesting candidates on ballots and Electronic Voting Machines instead of symbols of political parties. The plea states that this is to secure equal opportunity to all contesting candidates in…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginBJP leader Ashwini Upadhyaya has filed a writ petition before the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Election Commission of India to use the name, age, qualification and photograph of contesting candidates on ballots and Electronic Voting Machines instead of symbols of political parties. The plea states that this is to secure equal opportunity to all contesting candidates in spirit of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India, which enshrine the fundamental rights to equality, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, and right to life, respectively. Amongst others, the petition pleads the Supreme Court to declare that the use of party symbol on EVMs unconstitutional, to declare that the words ‘and symbol’ occurring in Rule 49B(4)(a) of the Conduct of Election Rules 1961, are contrary to Articles 14, 15, and 21 are unconstitutional and therefore void. The plea states that “nearly 43% MPs have criminal cases pending against them”, and that “out of 542 winners analyzed after 2014 election, 185 (34%) had declared criminal cases against themselves and out of 543 winners analyzed after 2009 LokSabha election, 162 (30%) had declared criminal cases against themselves”. Citing the “increase of 44% in the number of Loksabha MPs with declared criminal cases against themselves since 2009”, the petitioner states that “the root cause of this bizarre situation is the use of political party symbol on Ballot Paper and EVM.” The petition further states that there is also a violation of the Oath of Affirmation which a legislator is required to take under Schedule III of the Constitution of India, in which he swears to faithfully discharge his duty. It states that a convicted or imprisoned legislator cannot discharge his duty fully or faithfully, as it demands full-time involvement. Stating that the political party symbol on the ballot and EVM, leads to “confusion” for the voter and leads to the wrong casting of vote, the petition says that political parties have hijacked the democratic process and also engage in “stock-piling of black money, benami properties” transactions, etc “by selling the political party symbol to looters and criminals.” The petition pushes forth the argument that the Constitution framers didn’t feel the need of political party/symbols, which is why the Constitution does not mention them, however, the current system of voting has deviated to revolve solely around party symbols. This, the petition contends, is jeopardizing the democratic process of free and fair voting which is the basis of the Indian democracy. It also contends that the current system does not help to fight “menaces” like corruption, casteism, communalism, regionalism, nepotism, etc. Interestingly, on the aspect of education of legislators, the petition states that “to have a legislator who didn’t even go to college/university in (the) 21st century is unfathomable.” Stating that while the Indian Constitution has provisions to make MPs accountable through Articles 102 (disqualification of MP if he holds an “Office of Profit”), anti-defection under Schedule X, Article 101 (seat to be declared vacant on absence from meetings for more than 60 days without permission), etc. currently, there is no provision prescribing a minimum qualification and maximum age limit for contesting election, which was a gap in the law. Therefore, the petition prays for the publishing of the age & qualification of the candiates on EVMs, stating that the move will strengthen our democracy.Click Here To Download Petition[Read Petition]Next Storylast_img read more

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