HC dismisses TRS plea to delete party symbols resembling its car symbol

The Telangana High Court on Tuesday dismissed the plea filed by the ruling TRS to direct the ECI and the Telangana State Election Commission to delete all election symbols that are identical to the TRS party symbol “CAR.”

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  18 Oct 2022 1:48 PM GMT
HC dismisses TRS plea to delete party symbols resembling its car symbol

Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court on Tuesday dismissed the plea filed by the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) to direct the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the Telangana State Election Commission to delete all election symbols that are identical to the TRS party symbol "CAR."

The High Court Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice C.V Bhaskar Reddy heard the writ petition filed by TRS, represented by its general secretary Soma Bharath Kumar, alleging the inaction of the Election Commission of India and the State Election Commission in considering the petitioners representation dated 10 October 2022 wherein they requested the ECI to delete symbols that are identical to that of TRS symbol (car) from the list of free symbols in order to remove confusion and conflict of interest. This, they said, was to ensure there is no overlapping of symbols when it comes to pictorial representation which are to be used in the Munugode by-poll scheduled to be held on 3 November.

Further, the petitioner contended that the elections that are to be scheduled and conducted in the near future in Telangana, and more particularly across India, as illegal, arbitrary, and in violation of provisions of the Representation of the Peoples Act.

On behalf of TRS party, senior counsel Raghuram informed the court that it is the statutory duty of the ECI to act on the representation of the petitioner as it the right of the party to have an election symbol as an election symbol is a tool by which the voters are drawn to exercise their franchise.

Further, Mr. Raghuram pointed out that in the 2018 general elections, the TRS had filed a complaint to the ECI seeking deletion of the symbol allotted to the Samajwadi party "Truck" which resembled a car and the same was deleted. He sought a similar order from the court in this issue and said if it did not, it will have serious repercussions on the result of the election.

The major chunk of the voters from the rural areas and hamlets get confused as the eight symbols that are allotted to Independent candidates—camera, chapati roller, dolli, road roller, soap dish, television, sewing machine, and ship—are identical to the TRS party symbol, Mr. Raghuram alleged.

Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan, while going through the list of the symbols, observed that except the chapati roller, all other symbols in the list are quite different from the "car" symbol.

Avinash Desai, standing counsel for the Election Commission of India, informed the court that the Election Commission of India considered the representation of the TRS party and rejected its plea on 17 October. The ECI furnished a copy to the court as well as the petitioner's counsel.

Further, Mr. Desai submitted that the writ petition filed by the TRS party is not maintainable as the petitioner made the representation on 10 October, whereas the notification for the Munugode by-election was issued on 7 October.

He informed the court that once the notification is issued, the process for elections commences, and seeking deletion of certain election symbols from the list is in violation of Article 329 (4) b of the Constitution.

Further, he informed the court that all election symbols that the TRS wants to be deleted were there in the list of symbols with the Election Commission since the TRS became a recognised party. The petitioner never made a complaint to the ECI to delete the symbols earlier.

On 17 October 2022, the ECI released the list of 47 candidates who will be contesting the Munugode by-elections; 17 October was the last date for the withdrawal of nominations.

The rejection order was also served to the petitioner on 17 October, Mr. Desai told the court.

After hearing the contentions of both sides, Chief Justice Division Bench dismissed the writ petition filed by the TRS, saying that once the notification is issued for Munugode by-elections, the High Court cannot interfere.

On the representation of the TRS party to the ECI 2018 elections, ECI has deleted "iron box" and "truck" from the list of symbols as it resembled the TRS's "car." The present eight symbols exist in the list since the TRS party became a recognised political party.

Further, the court also said in its order that the plea of the petitioner to direct the ECI to consider its application once again is also declined by the court.

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