Can’t regulate political alliances, says ECI on plea to bar use of INDIA acronym | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Can’t regulate political alliances, says ECI on plea to bar use of INDIA acronym

Oct 30, 2023 03:50 PM IST

The Supreme Court on August 11 declined to entertain a similar petition, saying it was filed for publicity

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission of India (ECI) is mandated to register political parties under the law and not political alliances, the election watchdog has told the Delhi high court in response to a petition that sought to prohibit the 26-party opposition bloc, Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, from using the acronym INDIA.

FILE PHOTO: The ECI said it was only mandated to register political parties and not political alliances under the RP Act (REUTERS File)
FILE PHOTO: The ECI said it was only mandated to register political parties and not political alliances under the RP Act (REUTERS File)

“That the Answering Respondent (ECI) has been vested with the authority to register associations of bodies or individuals of a political party in terms of Section 29A of the RP, 1951. Notably political alliances are not recognised as regulated entities under the Representation of People Act, 1951 (RP Act) or Constitution,” the ECI said in its affidavit in response to the petition.

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The alliance was formed on July 18, 2023, to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The election watchdog also cited the Kerala high court’s ruling in Dr George Joseph v Union of India (2021), in which the high court refused to direct the ECI to regulate the functioning of political alliances such as LDF (Left Democratic Front), UDF (United Democratic Front and National Democratic Alliance (NDA), underlining that political alliances were not a legal entity in terms of the RP Act.

In his petition, Girish Bharadwaj said the 26 opposition parties “want to take undue advantage of the name of our country for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections next year”. Bharadwaj said he complained to ECI about the acronym but the panel did not act.

A bench of chief justice Satish Chandra Sharma and justice Sanjeev Narula on August 4 asked the Centre, ECI and 26 opposition parties to respond to the plea.

ECI also said its mandate was restricted to regulating matters concerning elections.

To be sure, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court on August 11 to stop the opposition bloc from using the acronym INDIA but the top court refused to entertain the plea. A bench of the Supreme Court headed by justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, which declined to entertain the petition, said the plea was filed for publicity and “it is sad that people waste time on this”.

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