Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Election symbols:

GS Paper 2:

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

 

Context:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during an election speech in Uttar Pradesh, appeared to suggest a connection between the 2008 Ahmedabad blasts and the Samajwadi Party due to its election symbol, the bicycle.

 

What’s the issue?

  • Bicycles were first used as carriers of bombs in the 2006 Malegaon blasts. The perpetrators of the blast strapped two bombs on different bicycles and placed them in the town.
  • Around the world terrorist groups have long used bicycles to plant bombs. They are easy and cheap to procure anywhere in the world, and increase the impact of the blast by adding jagged metal splinters to the shrapnel from the explosion.

 

Firstly, 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.

 

What are the Election Commission’s powers in a dispute over the election symbol when a party splits?

On the question of a split in a political party outside the legislature, Para 15 of the Symbols Order, 1968, states: “When the Commission is satisfied that there are rival sections or groups of a recognised political party each of whom claims to be that party the Commission may decide that one such rival section or group or none of such rival sections or groups is that recognised political party and the decision of the Commission shall be binding on all such rival sections or groups.”

  • This applies to disputes in recognised national and state parties (like the LJP, in this case). For splits in registered but unrecognised parties, the EC usually advises the warring factions to resolve their differences internally or to approach the court.

Please note that before 1968, the EC issued notifications and executive orders under the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know the differences between a recognised National Political Party and a State Political Party? Reference: read this.

 

The first recorded case of a bicycle bomb goes back to 1939, when the Irish Republican Army left a bomb in the basket of a bicycle that exploded, killing five people in Coventry in the United Kingdom.

 

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: Indian Express.