A PIL has been moved in the Delhi High Court seeking directions to the Election Commission (EC) to review political parties having names with religious connotations or using symbols similar to that of the national flag and to de-register them if they do not change them within three months.
The petition by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay has contended that use of names with religious connotations or symbols similar to the national flag or emblem might prejudicially affect the poll prospects of a candidate and would amount to a corrupt practice under the Representation of the People Act (RPA) of 1951.
“Review the political parties, registered with religious, caste, ethnic or linguistic connotations and ensure that they are not using a flag, similar to the national flag and de-register them if they fail to change it within three months,” the plea has urged the high court which is likely to hear the matter on Friday.
Upadhyay, also a lawyer, has claimed in his plea that such a step would help to ensure free and fair elections.
In his petition, he has referred to political parties such as Hindu Sena, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and Indian Union Muslim League as examples of names with religious connotations and said this was “against the spirit” of the RPA and the Model Code of Conduct.
“In addition, there are many political parties including Indian National Congress, which use a flag similar to the national flag, which is also against the spirit of the RPA,” the plea has said.