Delhi High Court today remanded back to the Election Commission a plea seeking cancellation of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) symbol 'Elephant', for alleged misuse of public funds by the erstwhile Mayawati government in installing statues of the pachyderm across the state.
Delhi High Court today remanded back to the Election Commission a plea seeking cancellation of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) symbol ‘Elephant’, for alleged misuse of public funds by the erstwhile Mayawati government in installing statues of the pachyderm across the state.
“I am remanding the matter back to the Election Commission of India,” Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said. The order came on the plea of an NGO which had claimed that putting up elepehant statues in public places “disturbs the level-playing field” in an electoral contest as it stands on the same footing like the display of a photograph inside an office.
EC had earlier rejected NGO Common Cause’s plea for cancellation of BSP’s symbol, saying the then Mayawati government in UP had not, despite repeated requests, furnished the desired information about the exact number and location of the elephant statues. The NGO had moved high court against the EC’s decision.
During the proceedings before the court, BSP had said a similar issue was pending before the Supreme Court, a claim which was opposed by the NGO which said the matter pending in the apex court pertained to “misuse” of government funds while the instant case was about “unfair advantage” enjoyed by the party in elections as a result of these statues.
Common Cause had also argued before the court that the model code of conduct was violated by the party by its act of constructing the statues at state expense.
The NGO had contended that the poll panel had erred in holding its plea as non-maintainable on account of non-furnishing of desired information by the then state government.
It had moved the poll panel in June 2009 for cancellation of BSP’s election symbol and the Commission had in March, 2010 sought from the state government information about the number and location of the statues. The state government had in April, 2010 refused to furnish the information.