Delhi HC upholds ‘first-come-first-served’ rule for election symbol allotment

New Delhi, March 5 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has affirmed the validity of the “first-come-first-served” principle in allocating free symbols to unrecognised political parties under the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora dismissed a petition filed by Tamil Nadu’s NTK party, contesting the legality of certain clauses within the 1968 border.

These clauses dictate that if multiple parties apply for the same symbol on the same date, the decision on the allotment is made through a random draw. Moreover, if one party had previously been allotted the symbol in the state concerned, precedence is given to that party.

The petitioner party objected to the allotment of the “Ganna Kisan” symbol to another unrecognised political entity for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. They argued that as a registered unrecognised state party, they were not entitled to a reserved election symbol and had previously been allotted the “Ganna Kisan” symbol from 2019 to 2023.

The court, however, ruled against the petitioner, stating that the other party had applied for the symbol first, in line with the provisions of the Election Symbols Order. It rejected the petitioner’s plea to amend the provisions to ensure equal consideration for all valid applications received within the permissible window period, saying that such a change would undermine the existing framework and confer undue advantage to certain parties.

It maintained that the current provisions are fair, non-discriminatory, and uniformly applicable to all eligible applicants, and noted that the petitioner party had previously benefited from the “first acceptance date” and cannot now seek to alter the rules to their advantage. Upholding the Election Symbols Order, it held the allocation of the “Ganna Kisan” symbol to the other party was neither arbitrary nor unconstitutional.




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