NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked whether anyone can raise the issue of deaths along the border and seek votes for a particular party.
The question was among several raised during a day-long hearing to revisit its two-decade-old ‘Hindutva’ judgement. Referring to the terms “national symbols” and “national emblem” in the Representation of the People (RP) Act, a seven-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur, said nobody could be allowed to use them to garner votes in the elections.
“Anybody can seek votes on the ground of national flag and national emblem and say that people are dying on the borders and so vote for a particular party. Can it be permitted,” asked the bench.
“This is specifically proscribed under this provision,” senior advocate Shyam Divan said. The hearing also saw the bench observing that Parliament has consciously “widened” the scope of the term “corrupt practices” in the poll law to curb “separatist and communal” tendencies.
“What is most significant in the present clause is that Parliament thought of widening the scope of ‘corrupt practices’ to curb separatist and communal tendencies during elections,” the bench said.
The bench then raised a hypothetical question and asked if a ‘Sikh granthi’ seeks votes for a particular Hindu candidate, can it be said that this appeal “falls foul” of the provision in question. It may not amount to “corrupt practice” under the specific section of the RP Act, Divan responded.