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Plea in Supreme Court to make parties drop religious names

PIL against tricolour-like flags of political parties
The Supreme Court

Our Legal Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 20.05.19, 10:03 PM

A Supreme Court advocate has moved the top court seeking directives to the Election Commission to strike off parties registered with religious, caste, ethnic and linguistic connotations and also those that use a flag similar to the national flag.

Lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who claims to be a spokesperson for the BJP’s Delhi unit, said such parties should be de-registered if they failed to change their name and their flag within three months.


The public interest petition is yet to be listed for formal hearing.

The PIL has cited Section 123(3) of the Representation of the People Act of 1951. “The appeal by a candidate or his agent… to vote or refrain from voting any person on the grounds of religion, race, caste, community or language or the use of, or appeal to, religious symbols or the use of, or appeal to, national symbols, such as national flag or national emblem, for the furtherance of the prospects of the election of the candidate or for prejudicially affecting the election of any candidate, is a corrupt practice under Section 123(3) of the RPA 1951,” the PIL said.

According to the petitioner, there are many parties such as the Hindu Sena, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and the Indian Muslim League that have names with religious connotations.

“In addition, there are political parties, including (the) Indian National Congress, which use a flag similar to the national flag, which is against the spirit of Section 123 of the RPA, 1951,” the PIL said.

The petitioner, the PIL added, had filed the plea to “review” such parties and “de-register them if they fail to rename (their outfits) and change their flag within three months”.

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