Plea in Supreme Court seeks stay on business of five State Legislatures, challenges Election Symbols Order

Plea in Supreme Court seeks stay on business of five State Legislatures, challenges Election Symbols Order

With months to go for the general elections, a petition seeking a stay on the operation of Election Symbols (Reservation And Allotment) Order 1968 has been filed in the Supreme Court of India. The petition also seeks a stay on the constitution/business of the State Legislatures of the States of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram where Assembly elections where recently held.

This petition filed by Advocate Mrinall Chakravorty assails the Election Symbols Order as being violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

The petitioner has prayed for a stay on the constitution and business of the five above mentioned States Legislatures on the ground that the elections were conducted by the Election Commission while the petition by the petitioner, on this issue, was pending before the Bombay High Court.

“Since the Election Commission of India has conducted the elections without filing a reply to the Courts notice, there be a stay on the constitution/business of the State Legislatures of the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram. If the impugned order is found unconstitutional then the elections be declared ultra vires. ”

The petitioner had filed a Public Interest Litigation before the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court challenging the Election Symbols Order on the grounds that this Order differentiates between recognized and unrecognized political parties. The petition states,

“The recognised party candidates get reserved symbols and others get unreserved symbols…

… The unrecognised party/ independent candidates get symbols 14 days before voting, thus his symbol has no visibility or recall and has lesser time to establish his connect with the symbol. This inequality is in violation of Art. 14 of the Constitution of India.”

The High Court had sought Election Commission’s response in this regard while issuing notice in the case in October 2018. It is alleged by the petitioner that the Election Commission sought time to file its reply and “misused the generosity of the Court” to hold Assembly Elections in five States during the period.

The Nagpur Bench had granted a four-week period to the Election Commission in an order passed on November 28, 2018. However, the High Court did not stay the operation of the Elections symbols Order. The petitioner has now approached the Supreme Court seeking directions to be issued to the High Court to complete the adjudication in the case within a period of four weeks.

In the interim, the petition is seeking a stay on the operation and implementation of the Election Symbols Order, aside from the interim prayer to stay the business of the State Legislatures in the five States.

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