SC directs EC to allot common symbol to AMMK candidates

New Delhi / Chennai: In a bitter-sweet verdict for AMMK, the Supreme Court refused to acknowledge the TTV Dhinakaran-led outfit’s claim for the cooker symbol, but, granted the party’s request for its candidates to contest under a common symbol.

The gripping hearing that lasted over an hour eventually resulted in temporary relief for Dhinakaran.

The apex court’s bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna passed the verdict. The court, however, made it clear that the said allotment will not confer upon the Dhinakaran faction any recognition as a political party and the AMMK candidates will be treated as Independents.

Earlier the Election Commission had argued that under rule 29-A, a common symbol cannot be allotted for TTV Dhinakaran’s faction as they are not a registered political party and their candidates are independents. However, senior advocates, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal who appeared for TTV Dhinakaran said AMMK was ready to register the party now, but it needs a common symbol. They argued that they had not registered so far as the Dhinakarn faction was contesting a case to claim the AIADMK’s two leaves symbol as their own. If AMMK registers as a political party, it will place them in a political conundrum as they will lose their claim to the two leaves symbol.
The Election Commission in its reply had said that according to rules, even if AMMK registers as a party, there is a waiting period of a minimum 30 days before a symbol can be allotted to the party.

The judges refused to accept the Election Commission’s reply. “If you give different symbols to candidates from the same faction their political careers will become a question mark. No matter how strong an individual candidate is, the symbol of a party is their identity in an election.”

Saying this, the judges ordered the Election Commission of India to allot the candidates of the Dhinakaran faction a common symbol. “It is only a temporary arrangement to ensure a level playing field in the upcoming elections,” the court stated.

NT Bureau