SC seeks AG views on PIL seeking removal of party symbols from EVMs

The plea has argued that the root cause for criminalisation of politics is due to the use of party symbol on EVM

Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: PTI)
Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: PTI)


The Supreme Court on Friday asked advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay to serve Attorney General K.K.Venugopal a copy of his petition seeking directions to use name, age, qualification and photograph of contesting candidates on EVMs, instead of political party symbol.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde declined to issue notice for now to the Centre and the Election Commission on the petition. The plea argued that the root cause for criminalisation of politics is due to the use of party symbol on EVM. "ADR report indicates that the chances of winning with criminal cases in 2019 election was 15.5% whereas for a candidate with clean background was merely 4.7%", said the plea.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing Upadhyay, submitted before the top court that he had found that in Brazil, one just got numbers to contest and no symbols.

"Ballot and EVM without political party symbol have many benefits (a) It will help electors to vote and support intelligent diligent and honest candidates, which is not possible in today's scenario. (b) It will not only weed out casteism and communalism from our democracy but also control use of black money and benami transaction in election", argued the plea.

However, the bench, also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian queried Singh, how a symbol could prejudice the electronic voting process.

Singh replied that candidate's intrinsic value can be taken and measured by the voters, if details other than party symbols can be taken into consideration. After a brief hearing in the matter, the bench said at this stage, it will not issue notice in the matter. The bench asked the counsel to serve a copy of the petition to Attorney General and then it will see. "No notice now", said the bench.

The petitioner informed the top court that he had sent a letter to the Election Commission of India (ECI) and other authorities, but had not heard from them so far.

"Our democracy is suffering from seven menaces: Corruption, criminalisation, casteism, communalism, lingusism, regionalism and nepotism and the best solution to weed these menaces is to replace political party symbols on ballot and EVM with name, age, educational qualification and photograph of the candidates", said the plea.

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