Explain how party symbols are allotted to political parties in India. Discuss in the light of recent examples, how election commission decides on party symbol disputes?
The power to allot party symbols are vested with the Election Commission of India as per the article 324 of the Constitution; section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961. The election commission of India had issued the election symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 that regulates and governs election symbols of political parties in the country.
In every contested election, a symbol is allotted to a contesting candidate in accordance with the provisions. Two types of symbols are there viz. Reserved, which is allotted to a recognized political party, and the symbols are known as free symbols.
The disputes arose in the context of the split in political parties under the Para 15 of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 that says if the Commission is satisfied that there are rival groups of a recognized political party each of whom claims to be that party the Commission may consider all available facts and circumstances of the case and hearing representatives and other persons as desire to be heard decide that one such rival group or none of such rival sections or groups is that recognized political party. The decision taken by the Commission shall be binding on all such rival sections or groups. For registered but unrecognized political parties, the commission generally advises resolving their differences amicably.
Two different factions of parties emerged in AIADMK after the demise of Jayalalitha. Both claiming to be the original party. Election Commission has allotted the “two leaves” symbol to the united front of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E K Palaniswami (EPS) and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam (OPS). Previously, EC had frozen the party symbol.
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