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Delhi HC Dismisses Plea to Remove Election Symbols from Ballot Papers in Municipal Polls

PTI

Last Updated: April 18, 2022, 19:43 IST

The petitioner, represented by lawyer HS Gahlot, argued that a candidate with an existing symbol of a recognized political party gets an unfair advantage over a candidate with an unknown symbol.  (Image: PTI/File)

The petitioner, represented by lawyer HS Gahlot, argued that a candidate with an existing symbol of a recognized political party gets an unfair advantage over a candidate with an unknown symbol. (Image: PTI/File)

A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi said that it was not impressed by the stand taken by petitioner Alka Ghalot

The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed public interest litigation seeking the removal of election symbols from the ballot papers for the municipal elections in the city. A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi said that it was not impressed by the stand taken by petitioner Alka Ghalot.

We are dismissing it. We are not impressed by your submissions, stated the bench also comprising Justice Navin Chawla. The petitioner, who had contested and lost the MCD polls earlier, contended that the objective behind the municipal elections is local self-governance which is taken away by the appearance of election symbols of political parties on the ballot paper.

The petitioner, represented by lawyer HS Gahlot, argued that a candidate with an existing symbol of a recognized political party gets an unfair advantage over a candidate with an unknown symbol. It was further contended that a candidate sponsored by a recognized political party would have the advantage of having a reserved symbol which violates the basic principle of having a level playing field.

The court asked the petitioner if political parties were banned from contesting local body elections and remarked that if the petitioner’s submission is good then it should be applied to all other elections as well and not just municipal elections. He (a candidate) will not be elected if he is not popular. Independent candidates are elected very often, the court said.

The petitioner also stated that the presence of election symbols on the ballot paper was in violation of the Constitution and the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act as both of them make no reference to political parties in relation to municipal polls. Counsel for State Election Commission Sumeet Pushkarna emphasised that there were Supreme Court orders holding that symbols were important and relevant to the elections and help the illiterate relate to their candidate of choice.

He also said that neither the Election Commission of India nor any political party was made a party to the petition.

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first published:April 18, 2022, 19:43 IST
last updated:April 18, 2022, 19:43 IST