Supreme Court Issues Notice On Plea To Ban Political Parties With Religious Names Or Symbols
The Supreme Court today issued notice on a writ petition seeking a ban on political parties which use names and symbols of religions.
A Bench comprising of Justice MR Shah and Justice Krishna Murari issued notice returnable on October 18, on a PIL filed by Syed Waseem Rizvi (Jitendra Narayan Singh Tyagi) seeking to enforce the mandate of Sections 29A, 123(3) and 123(3A) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 which prohibit luring of the voters on the ground of their religion. The Bench also directed the Petitioner to implead such political parties as Respondents.
Senior Advocate Gaurav Bhatia appearing for the Petitioner submitted that two recognized state parties have the word "Muslim" in their name. He also told the Court that some parties have a crescent moon and stars on their official flags. He told the Court that the petition contains a list of parties with religious names.
He submitted that as per the judgment of the Court in S R Bommai v Union of India, secularism is part of the basic feature of the Constitution and that political parties cannot have names with religious connotations.
On a query by the Bench as to whether the bar will apply to political parties under Section 123 of the Representation of People Act since the parties are not running for election, Bhatia said that if a candidate of a party with a religious name seeks votes, he will be violating the Act and the principles of secularism.
The Bench cited the example of the Indian Union Muslim League, a political party in Kerala with members in the Parliament and the state assembly while posing questions to the Petitioner. Its flag contains the crescent moon and star, an Islamic religious symbol.