EC bars political parties from using public space for propagating symbol
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued directions barred political parties from using public resources that amount to advertisement for parties or propagating their election symbols.
The ECI has issued these directions in the wake of the High Court July 2016 order and considering the views of political parties.
- ECI order bars political parties from using public space, public funds or government machinery for carrying out activities propagate party election symbols or advertise them.
- It has clarified that above directions violates the lawful direction of it within the meaning of paragraph 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation & Allotment) Order.
- The clause 16A of the Order confers power on ECI to suspend or withdraw recognition of a recognised political party fails to follow its lawful directions and instructions or to observe Model Code of Conduct.
What do these directions mean?
Henceforth, no registered political party in the country shall either use or allow the use of any public place or public funds or government machinery for carrying out any activity that would amount to advertisement for the party or propagating party’s allotted election symbol. It will further augment ECI’s goal of conducting free and fair election and level playing field for all stakeholders.
The Delhi High Court in July 2016 had issued an order in Common Cause vs Bahujan Samaj Party case requesting ECI to issue appropriate directions or guidelines for preventing the recognised political party in power from using public resources for propagating the party’s election symbol. Delhi HC had mentioned that utilising public resources for promoting any political party or its election symbol is antithetical to the concept of free and fair election and the principle of level playing field for all stakeholders.