November 30, 2021

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Delhi HC dismisses Punjab party’s plea against EC-allotted poll symbol; imposes Rs 1 lakh cost on petitioner

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Delhi HC dismisses Punjab party’s plea against EC-allotted poll symbol; imposes Rs 1 lakh cost on petitioner
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Delhi HC dismisses Punjab party’s plea against EC-allotted poll symbol; imposes Rs 1 lakh cost on petitioner
Delhi HC dismisses Punjab party’s plea against EC-allotted poll symbol; imposes Rs 1 lakh cost on petitioner

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition filed by Lok Insaaf Party, an unrecognised state party in Punjab, seeking quashing of an Election Commission order that allotted to it the ‘letter box’ poll symbol instead of its first preference, ‘farmer riding tractor’.
The court ruled that the petitioner had misled the court by submitting an old list of ‘free symbols’ instead of the updated, valid list that did not have ‘farmer riding tractor’ among the available ‘free symbols’
The high court also imposed an exemplary cost on the petitioner for “approaching it with unclean hands”.
Justice Prateek Jalan observed that the petitioner had concealed the material facts and tried to mislead the court by not disclosing the entire and true copy of ECI’s notification dated September 23.
Assembly elections in Punjab and four other states are due early next year.
Lok Insaaf Party had argued before HC that it had requested EC for a different symbol, i.e. “tractor chalata kisan’ as its first preference and this symbol ought to have been allotted to it.
The ECI had invited applications for reservation of a common symbol under paragraph 10B of The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 in respect of forthcoming assembly elections and as far as Punjab is concerned, and the applications were to be filed on or after September 27.
The petitioner filed a copy of its application on September 27.
The existing free symbols notified by the ECI can be seen on its website. The petitioner annexed to the writ petition a copy of the notification issued by the ECI dated September 23 but as far as the section that contains an updated list of ‘free symbols’ is concerned, it somehow attached an old list from an EC notification dated March 11, 2021 (which listed ‘farmer riding tractor’) instead of the one issued later on September 23, 2021 (that did not have ‘farmer riding tractor’).
Rohini Prasad, learned counsel for the ECI, appearing on advance notice, submitted that the petitioner was guilty of suppression of material facts, inasmuch as the said symbol was not a free symbol.
She pointed out that Table IV of the EC notification dated September 23 contains the list of free symbols available, which is prior to the commencement of applications under the ECI notice dated June 8, as far as the State of Punjab is concerned.
She has handed over a copy of Table IV as included in the notification dated September 23, which shows that “Tractor Chalata Kisan” was not a free symbol as of that date.
Brijballabh Tiwari, counsel for the petitioner, submitted that the list of free symbols as of September 23 contained in Table IV was not available on the website of the ECI.
The court observed on Thursday: “It appears that the petitioner has indeed filed only a part of the notification dated 23.09.2021 and omitted to file the list of free symbols in Table IV….Such suppression in a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution cannot be countenanced. The petitioner has omitted the current Table IV, and instead place on record Table IV as on 11.03.2021. Although Mr. Tiwari submits that such an omission was unintentional, I am not persuaded to accept this submission,” ruled Justice Jalan while imposing an exemplary cost of Rs 1 lakh on Lok Insaaf Party.

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