HC Rejects OJM Petition on Using 'Kite' in BMC Polls
In a significant order, the Orissa High Court on Wednesday rejected the writ petition filed by the Odisha Jana Morcha (OJM) challenging the order of the State Election Commission (SEC) prohibiting the party from using ‘Kite’ symbol for its candidates in the polls for the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) scheduled on January 8.
A division bench of Chief justice A K Goel and Justice A K Ratha held that the order passed by the SEC cannot be held illegal or without jurisdiction and no ground had been made out by the petitioner to interfere with it.
“However, the SEC, though not technically bound to do so in the absence of the procedure of Para 10 B of Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order 1968, will be free to consider the prayer of the petitioner in the interest of avoiding confusion if such prayer is found viable.
The OJM had filed the petition stating that it was a registered unrecognised party and appealed to the court to quash the SEC order dated December 17, 2013 where it had rejected the appeal for allotting ‘Kite’ symbol to them.
The SEC does not have any power to allot party symbols and only the Election Commission is authorised to do so, the petitioner submitted.
Countering the contentions, SEC counsel stated that under Para 1 0B of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order 1968, unrecognised political parties are not on a par with recognised parties. They have to give intimation at least five days before the date of notification for the elections. The OJM did not give any indication and accordingly is not entitled to use ‘Kite’ as its symbol.
The bench, while making its observations, has raised a question whether as per the notification, the petitioner is allowed to use the free symbol ‘Kite’ in the municipal elections on the ground that the said symbol has been allowed to be used in the forthcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha polls.