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SC declines to hear plea on replacing party symbols on EVMs with candidate details

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to consider a plea seeking a direction to the Election Commission to remove symbols from ballot and EVMs and replace it with 'name, age, educational qualification and photograph' of candidates.

A bench of Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Bela M Trivedi pointed that 10th Schedule to the Constitution recognises political parties and legislature party. "What is so wrong and obnoxious for having a party symbol on EVM?" CJI Lalit asked.
CJI further said, "Election is connected with the political party... The electorate has voted a person belonging to a political party, he cannot dump his political party."

Attorney General of India R Venkataramani opposed the petition saying that the choice that a voter makes happens before he reaches the EVM.

"I find it difficult to agree with the plea of removing symbol with photo. Symbol is an identity of a political party. The issue of criminals can be addressed in a different context," AG argued.
Hearing the plea, the bench told petitioner's counsel, "We are not inclined to interfere in the matter". The bench gave option to the petitioner either to either withdraw the plea or court will dismiss it.

As the bench was not inclined to entertain the plea, senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Ashwini Upadhyay, said that he will send a representation to the Election Commission of India.
Counsel appearing for the poll panel said that as and when such representation will be made it will be considered. The bench then disposed of the plea.

The plea was filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay seeking direction to declare that use of party symbol on EVM is illegal-unconstitutional and violative of Articles 14, 15, 21 of the Constitution of India.

The petition stated that the best solution to weed out corruption and criminalisation in politics is to replace political party symbols on ballot and EVM with name, age, educational qualification and photograph of the candidates.
"Direct the Election Commission of India to use the 'name, age, educational qualification and photograph' of the candidates on EVM, in order to provide equal opportunity to contesting candidates and to weed out corruption criminalisation, casteism, communalism
regionalism, linguism and nepotism," the plea stated.

It said that ballot and EVM without political party symbol have many benefits as it will help electors to vote and support intelligent diligent and honest candidates. (ANI)

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