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How Election Commission decides on party symbols?

Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

How Election Commission decides on party symbols?


Context:

In a major setback for the Kerala Congress (M) PJ Joseph faction, which is part of the UDF in the state, the Kerala High Court has dismissed the petitions challenging the Election Commission’s order declaring the group led by Jose K Mani as the official Kerala Congress (M) and granting it the official election symbol of “two leaves”.

  • The Court said it cannot, in the exercise of the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, interfere with the finding of the Commission.

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How are symbols allotted to political parties?

As per the guidelines, to get a symbol allotted:

  1. A party/candidate has to provide a list of three symbols from the EC’s free symbols list at the time of filing nomination papers.
  2. Among them, one symbol is allotted to the party/candidate on a first-come-first-serve basis.
  3. When a recognised political party splits, the Election Commission takes the decision on assigning the symbol.

Powers of Election Commission:

The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 empowers the EC to recognise political parties and allot symbols.

  • Under Paragraph 15 of the Order, it can decide disputes among rival groups or sections of a recognised political party staking claim to its name and symbol.
  • The EC is also the only authority to decide issues on a dispute or a merger. The Supreme Court upheld its validity in Sadiq Ali and another vs. ECI in 1971.

How many types of symbols are there?

As per the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) (Amendment) Order, 2017, party symbols are either:

  1. Reserved: Eight national parties and 64 state parties across the country have “reserved” symbols.
  2. Free: The Election Commission also has a pool of nearly 200 “free” symbols that are allotted to the thousands of unrecognised regional parties that pop up before elections.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Recognition of political parties.
  2. What are state parties and national parties?
  3. Benefits for recognized parties.
  4. Who assigns party symbols? What are the types?
  5. Who decides on issues related to merger of political parties?
  6. Article 226 is related to?

Mains Link:

Discuss how are symbols allotted to political parties?

Sources: the Hindu.