NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday told the Election Commission to decide within three months the maintainability of several complaints seeking cancellation of the election symbol of BSP owing to installation of several elephant statues by the UP government in alleged violation of law. The EC had moved the apex court complaining that the Mayawati government was refusing to provide information — how many statues of elephants were installed in the state with details of locations — needed for deciding the complaints.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar said the EC should assume that there were statues and decide the maintainability of the complaints. “Thereafter, if the EC needs further information, it can always approach the SC for a direction,” it said.
The EC through counsel Meenakshi Arora said that the BSP had repeatedly stonewalled the commission’s query for details of the number of statues of elephants and Mayawati installed at public/private places from the government funds between 2007 and 2010 along with photographic evidence. Appearing for the state, senior advocates K K Venugopal and S C Mishra said that the issue relating to maintainability of the complaints was argued threadbare in April but the EC was sitting over the order on the pretext of seeking more information.
Complainant Advocate Ravi Kant, who had alleged that hundreds of crores have been spent to install statues which were lookalikes of the BSP’s election symbol, attempted to argue in support of the EC, but the SC said it was not hearing the main petition but the application from the commission.
The UP government had taken a stand that EC had no jurisdiction to ask for any information. EC said this stand completely negated the mandate under Article 324 of the Constitution by which the body has been entrusted with the task of conducting and supervising elections including allotment of election symbols and any dispute relating to it. The BSP had told the EC that the statues of elephants constructed by the state government out of its budgeted expenditure were not similar to the election symbol of the party.