Posted: Nov 26, 2008
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Election Commission on a Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) petition challenging the legality of one of its rules for recognising a political outfit as a “state-level party” and allotting a fixed election symbol to it in the state.
Taking up the petition filed by Tamil actor-turned-state legislator Vijayakant A, who had won the Virudhachalam seat of Tamil Nadu Assembly in the 2006 elections, a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan granted two weeks to the EC to respond.
The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order of the poll panel stipulates that a political party would be recognised as a state-level party, only if it has secured at least six per cent of the total votes polled in the state, besides winning at least two seats in the last Assembly or general elections.
However, the petitioner submitted before the court that his party DMDK had in the last 2006 Assembly elections secured 8.33 per cent of the total votes polled, though it managed to win merely one seat (his own).
Appearing for the petitioner, senior counsel K K Venugopal asserted that the actor’s party would come to power in the state after the next Assembly elections. But the Bench also comprising Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal observed, “If he was so confident of sweeping the poll, why was he bothered about recognition and the election symbol?”
The DMDK had fielded a total of 232 candidates for the 234-seat Assembly and his candidates together had polled a total of 2,746,900 votes, the court was told.
The actor stated that there was no definite and scientific relation between the seats won and the votes secured by a party in a democracy adopting the “first-past-the-post” system of election.
Citing examples of votes polled and seats won by two other key parties, DMK and AIADMK, in the state, it was challenged that the DMK despite securing 10,768,559 votes in the 2006 Assembly elections won merely 61 seats while the DMK won 96 seats despite securing merely 87,28,716 votes.
The actor sought to prove the lack of any scientific relation between the votes polled and seats won by a party in an election by citing similar figures for various Assembly and the Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere.
The actor urged the court to quash the said rule for allotting the fixed symbols to the political parties and sought recognition for his outfit as a state-level party.