In News: The spilt in Maharashtra’s Shiv Sena party has bought the focus on allocation of Election Symbol by Election Commission.
- An electoral or election symbol is a standardized symbol allocated to a political party.
- They are used by the parties during their campaigning and are shown on Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), where the voter chooses the symbol and votes for the associated party.
- They were introduced to facilitate voting by illiterate people.
- In the 1960s, it was proposed that the regulation, reservation and allotment of electoral symbols should be done through a law of Parliament, i.e. Symbol Order.
- In a response to this proposal, the ECI stated that the recognition of political parties is supervised by the provisions of Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 and so will the allotment of symbols.
- The EC registers political parties for the purpose of elections and grants them recognition as national or state parties on the basis of their poll performance. The other parties are simply declared as registered-unrecognised parties.
- The recognition determines their right to certain privileges like allocation of the party symbols, provision of time for political broadcasts on television and radio stations and access to electoral rolls.
- Every national party and every state party is allotted a symbol exclusively reserved for its use throughout the country and the states respectively.
Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968:
- Under Paragraph 15 of the Order, EC can decide disputes among rival groups or sections of a recognised political party staking claim to its name and symbol.
- The EC is the only authority to decide issues on a dispute or a merger under the order.
- The Supreme Court (SC) upheld its validity in Sadiq Ali and another vs. ECI in 1971.
- This applies to disputes in recognised national and state parties.
- For splits in registered but unrecognised parties, the EC usually advises the warring factions to resolve their differences internally or to approach the court.
- In almost all disputes decided by the EC so far, a clear majority of party delegates/office bearers, MPs and MLAs have supported one of the factions.
- Whenever the EC could not test the strength of rival groups based on support within the party organisation, it fell back on testing the majority only among elected MPs and MLAs.
- The splinter group of the party – other than the group that got the party symbol – had to register itself as a separate party.
- They could lay claim to national or state party status only on the basis of its performance in state or central elections after registration.
Source: Indian Express
Previous Year Question
Q.1) Consider the following statements: (2017)
- The Election Commission of India is a five-member body.
- Union Ministry of Home Affairs decides the election schedule for the conduct of both general elections and bye-elections.
- Election Commission resolves the disputes relating to splits/mergers of recognised political parties.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 and 2 only
- 2 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 3 only