Case: Shraddha Tripathi v. Election Commission of India Thru Secy. Nirvachan Sadan Newde
Citation: [P.I.L. CIVIL No. – 26259 of 2020]
Coram: Hon’ble Govind Mathur, Chief Justice and Hon’ble Ramesh Sinha, J.
Allahabad High Court entertained a PIL challenging the Elections Commission’s power to allot symbols and directed the commission to respond to the petition in six weeks. The petition was heard by the bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Ramesh Sinha.
The petition challenged the validity of Paras 10, 10A, and 10-B of the Symbol Order 1968 on various counts, inter-alia, the paras were contended to be conflicting with Rule-10 of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961.
It was stated in the plea that the election symbols were bring allotted by the Commission and not by the Returning Officer. This was not in line with Rule 10(4) of the Rules, 1961.
Section 21 of the Representation of People’s Act defines the term “Returning Officer” and it means a person who is designated or nominated by the commission, but, it does not signify the commission itself.
The petitioner stated that Sub-Rule-6 of the Rules, according to which the symbol has to be disclosed to the candidate who is contesting or their agent at the first instance by the Returning Officer and not prior to that. The petitioner was concerned that under Para-17 of the Order of 1968, the symbol was published before the allotment date by the commission to the candidate who is contesting or their agent.
Responding to the petition, the Senior Advocate appearing on the behalf of Election Commission objected to the petition on the basis of its prayer clause.
The court however deemed it fit that the petition be responded with an appropriate counter, thereby, giving six weeks to the commission to do the same.