Delhi HC Seeks Govt Reply on PIL Seeking Ban on Parties Having Names with Religious Connotation

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Referring to political parties such as the Hindu Sena, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and Indian Union Muslim League, the petition said this violates the RPA and the Model Code of Conduct.

NEW DELHI — The Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted time to the Central government to file its response on a petition seeking a ban on political parties with names having caste, religious, ethnic or linguistic connotations and flags resembling the Tricolour.

A division bench led by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma was dealing with petitioner lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay’s Public Interest Litigation (PIL) arguing that such political parties’ names might prejudicially affect the poll prospects of a candidate amounting to a corrupt practice under the Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951. Such a step will help ensure free and fair elections, the petition said.

“Review the political parties, registered with caste, religious, ethnic or linguistic connotations and ensure that they are not using a flag, similar to the national flag, and de-register them if they fail to change it within three months,” the petition read.

The court was apprised that in spite of the issuance of a notice on the PIL in 2019, the Centre has not filed a reply.

The bench also comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad observed that the Centre was an “equally important party” to the PIL.

As the counsel for the Central government prayed for grant of four weeks’ time to seek instructions, the court allowed it and also asked the counsel for the Election Commission to seek further instructions in the matter. The ECI has already filed a response to the petition.

The court listed the matter for next hearing on August 9.

Referring to political parties such as the Hindu Sena, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and Indian Union Muslim League, the petition said this violates the RPA and the Model Code of Conduct.

It said: “In addition, there are many political parties including the Indian National Congress, which use a flag similar to the national flag, which is also against the spirit of the RPA.”

According to the ECI’s 2019 reply, in 2005 it took a policy decision not to register any political party having a name with religious connotations and has since registered no such party.

It added that any such party registered before 2005 will not lose its registration for having a name with a religious connotation. — IANS

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