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Supreme Court issues notice to EC, Govt on parties using religious names, symbols

  • Published
    6th Sep, 2022

Recently, Supreme Court issued notice to the election commission to cancel the registration of political parties that use religious symbols or names of religions in their nomenclature.


Registration of a political party in India:

  • According to the Election Commission, any party seeking registration has to submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days.
  • Following the date of its formation as per guidelines prescribed by the Commission in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 324 of the Constitution of India and Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • The registration of all political parties is governed by the provisions of Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act 1951.

Why registering with the EC is important?

  • It is not mandatory to register with the Election Commission but registering as a political party with the EC has its advantage in terms of intending to avail itself of the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • The candidates set up by a political party registered with the EC will get preference in the matter of allotment of free symbols vis-à-vis purely independent candidates.

Issuing Symbols

An electoral symbol is a standardised symbol allocated to an independent candidate or political party by a country's election commission for use in election ballots.

  • The registered political parties can get recognition as a ‘state party’ or a ‘national party’ subject to the fulfilment of the conditions prescribed by the Commission in the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order 1968.

Significance of Election symbol

  • Symbols are used by parties in their campaigning, and printed on ballot papers where a voter must make a mark to vote for the associated party.
  • One of their purposes is to facilitate voting by illiterate people, who cannot read candidates' names on ballot papers.
  • They are easily identifiable real-world creatures, objects, or items such as the head of an elephant.

Related Judgements

  • Abhiram Singh vs C D Commachen: An appeal to vote on the ground of the religion (or caste, community, race or language) of a candidate or to refrain from voting for a candidate on the basis of these features would amount to a corrupt practice.
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