The Delhi High Court today turned down Yogendra Yadav-led Swaraj India's request to allot them a common symbol for its candidates to contest MCD polls, saying any order would "cripple" the election process set in motion.
The Delhi High Court today turned down Yogendra Yadav-led Swaraj India’s request to allot them a common symbol for its candidates to contest MCD polls, saying any order would “cripple” the election process set in motion. A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar, however, said the issue of whether a common symbol be given to registered and unrecognised parties required elaborate hearing and elucidation before a decision is taken. The court listed the matter for next hearing on July 19. “Issue/grant of a common election symbol would require and mandate comments/objections from different stakeholders. The process and award of a common symbol is not an easy and simple exercise, for others could have objection and reservation on allotment from the free symbols.
“Independent candidates in nomination forms are required to specify three symbols which they have chosen in the order of preference. The last date of filing of nominations is April 3, 2017. In the given time-frame, any interim order/direction would virtually scuttle and cripple the election process set in motion…,” the bench said.
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It said the principle of balance of convenience mandates that the poll as fixed by the authorities should be conducted smoothly without any obstruction and hindrance. The court’s order has come on a plea filed by Swaraj India seeking setting aside of a single judge order, by which their request for allotment of a common symbol to its candidates to contest for the 272 MCD wards here was declined.
It had approached the single judge challenging the Delhi state election commission’s decision not to allot them a common symbol in the MCD polls to be held on April 23. Swaraj India had sought quashing of the panel’s March 14, 2017 notification and an April 2016 order which had said that the nominees of such parties would be treated as independent candidates for allotment of symbols.
The party had also sought stay on the election, which the bench declined observing that the same is “unacceptable”. “We cannot ignore the practical and functional problems which would arise. These would hinder and create obstacles in conduct of free and fair election in smooth manner,” it said, adding that today was the last date for filing nomination of the candidates.
The bench, however, clarified that the interim order and the view expressed by it is “tentative and prima facie and would not be considered as expression of final opinion and would not affect the final outcome of the present appeal”.
Disallowing the request for common symbol, the bench in its 10-page interim order also noted that 31 registered unrecognised parties and 11 unregistered parties have made identical requests.
“Any interjection and interim direction in favour of the appellant to allot a common symbol would result in spate of similar prayers before the state election commission or writ petitions before the Court on identical lines,” it said.
The single-judge had found merit in the stand of the Delhi state election commission that Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) would carry photographs of candidates and the party would not have any disadvantage without a common symbol.
The single judge had on March 29 said since the plea was filed after the polling process was underway, it was very late in the day for the court to interfere.