The Delhi High Court bench of Acting Chief Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul on Friday directed the Election Commission of India to file a short affidavit indicating whether it had acted in accordance with law while granting registration to the Aam Aadmi Party.
The court orders came during a hearing on a plea seeking cancellation of registration of the AAP, alleging that it was registered using “false and fabricated documents” and an “illegal” symbol. “Counsel for the respondent (EC) to file an affidavit indicating the factual position behind registration of AAP,” the bench said. “Give us a short affidavit taking a stand that you acted in accordance with law,” the court said.
According to the plea filed by advocate Hans Raj Jain, the AAP had used the Ashok Chakra as part of its symbol while filing an application for registration before the EC. According to Jain, the symbol violated the provisions of the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act.
The plea had also alleged that the EC had “hurriedly” granted registration to the party without following procedure. He had also claimed that there were discrepancies in residential addresses given by some AAP members in their affidavits when compared to the addresses given in their voter identity cards or income tax returns.
The court sought clarification on the factual position and process followed by the EC after the lawyer for the Commission said a political party was a “social organisation” and not a trade or profession prohibited from using national symbols as part of their emblem under the Act. The EC also said it had received complaints against the registration of AAP and it had written to the party in March 2013, following which the party had said it will not be using the ‘chakra’ as an emblem/symbol.
The court directed Jain to approach the Central government for sanction to file a complaint against the AAP if he feels that there has been a violation of the Symbols Act, since the Central government has the authority to take up such matters.