Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Supreme Court rejects DMDK plea for common symbol

Actor Vijayakant's Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) — and some other political parties in Tamil Nadu —suffered a major setback on Wednesday with the Supreme Court declining their plea to allot a common symbol to contest the ensuing Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. A Bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Cyriac Joseph rejected the applications of DMDK (seeking ‘nagara' symbol; Kongunadu Munnetra Kazhagam (KMK), seeking ‘cylinder' symbol; Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK), seeking ‘candle', Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), seeking ‘star' symbol; Pudhiya Thamizhagam and All India N.R. Congress for allotment of common symbol.

Justice Kabir, writing the judgment, referred to an early order passed in 2009 when common symbols were allotted to certain political parties and said “If interim arrangement made earlier is to be continued it would be directly in violation of the provisions {of the Election Symbol (Reservation and Allotment) Order. Such an arrangement cannot be made unless the operation of the impugned provision is stayed. At this stage we are not inclined to stay the impugned provision.”
The Bench said, “When the interim arrangements were made on March 27, 2009, the registered unrecognised political parties before the Court were only three in number, whereas presently many others have joined the bandwagon. It would certainly be to the advantage of the registered unrecognised political parties if they were able to put up candidates on a common symbol. On the other hand, if all registered unrecognised political parties were to be provided with a common symbol, prima facie, it would render the provisions of the Election Symbols Order, 1968, completely unworkable and destroy the very object it seeks to achieve.”
The Bench said that having regard to the two possibilities, “we are not inclined to make any interim arrangement similar to that made on an earlier occasion. However, while we are not inclined to make any interim arrangement regarding the allotment of election symbols for the forthcoming General Assembly Elections, we make it clear that this is only a tentative view, which shall not, in any way, affect the final outcome of the pending Writ Petitions and Special Leave Petitions. We also make it clear that this order will not prevent the Election Commission from considering any representation that may be made by the political parties and from accommodating their prayer for a common symbol, to the extent practically possible.”
The Bench directed the matter to be listed for final disposal on May 3.

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