Party names with ‘religious connotations’: notice to EC

Petition seeks review, deregistration

The Delhi High Court on Friday issued notice to the Election Commission (EC) on a petition to review political parties having names with religious connotations or ones using symbols similar to that of the national flag, and to deregister them.

A Bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A.J. Bhambhani also issued notice to the Centre and posted the case for hearing on July 17.

BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, in his petition filed in public interest, has said that use of names with religious connotations or symbols similar to the national flag or emblem might prejudicially affect the poll prospects of a candidate and would amount to a corrupt practice under the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

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

Mr. Upadhyay has claimed that such a step would help to ensure free and fair elections. In his petition, he has referred to political parties such as Hindu Sena, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and Indian Union Muslim League as examples of names with religious connotations and said this was “against the spirit” of the RPA and the model code of conduct.

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

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