The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Election Commission to decide within three months a petition seeking de-recognisition of the Bahujan Samaj Party for installing statues of its elections symbol elephant across the state by using taxpayers’ money.
The order came from a bench headed by Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan on a petition filed by advocate Ravikant seeking direction to the UP government to stop installing statues of elephants and Chief Minister Mayawati.
The Election Commission would now decide if installation of statues of elephants at memorial parks in the state violated the poll code. After issuing the direction to the poll panel, the bench adjourned the hearing for three months.
Ravikant had sought a direction to restrain the BSP government from installing statues of elephants and Mayawati at the cost of the state exchequer and demanded a CBI probe into the whole affair.
According to the petitioner, the government was installing 60 statues of elephants at a cost of Rs 52.20 crore by misusing state funds to further the BSP’s electoral prospects. He claimed the total money spent from the state budget for 2008-09 and 2009-10 for the purpose was about Rs 2,000 crore.
The bench issued the directions after senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for the UP government, opposed Ravikant’s petition saying the advocate had also petitioned the Election Commission.
Opposing Ravikant’s lawsuit, Mayawati’s aide S.C. Mishra said the statues are being installed under a scheme approved by the legislature with funds allocated under the budget. Courts cannot decide the budget of state in a PIL, he said.
“Even in North Block and South Block here , You have elephant statues.”