A bench comprising Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Bela M Trivedi said a representation may be made by petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay to the poll panel or other authorities for consideration.
Seeking the removal of party symbols from ballots and the EVMs, the plea said such a move will help electors vote and support intelligent, diligent and honest candidates and “control the dictatorship of political party bosses in ticket distribution”.
At the outset, senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the petitioner, said the character and qualification of a candidate take the back seat and the ability to win an election of a person becomes the key factor in ticket distribution.
“When only a candidate is seen and no party is mentioned only then the credentials of a candidate will matter,” he said.
“How can we entertain this (PIL) under Article 32 of the Constitution,” the bench asked.
The bench disposed of the PIL after Attorney Genera R Venkataramani assured the bench that a representation on the issue would be considered by authorities.
The plea sought a direction to the Election Commission to remove party symbols from ballots and electronic voting machines (EVMs) and put age, educational qualification and photograph of candidates instead.
The plea filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay has also sought directions to declare that the use of party symbols on EVM is illegal, unconstitutional, and violative of the Constitution.
It said the best solution to weed out corruption and criminalisation in politics is to replace political party symbols on the ballot and EVM with names, age, educational qualifications and photographs of the candidates.
“Ballot and EVM without a political party symbol will control the dictatorship of political party bosses in ticket distribution and force them to give tickets to those who religiously work for people’s welfare,” the plea said.
Referring to a study done by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-governmental organisation working on electoral reforms, the plea said that out of 539 MPs, 233 (43 per cent) have declared criminal cases against themselves.
“Out of 542 winners analysed after the 2014 election, 185 (34 per cent) had declared criminal cases against themselves and out of 543 winners analysed after the 2009 Lok Sabha election, 162 (30 per cent) had declared criminal cases against themselves.
“There is an increase of 44 per cent in the number of Lok Sabha MPs with declared criminal cases against themselves since 2009, and the root cause of this bizarre situation is the use of political party symbols on the ballot paper and EVM,” the plea said. PTI SJK RT