The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Election Commission (EC) to first decide on the maintainability of the complaint filed by Advocate Ravi Kant, alleging misuse of public funds for installation of statues by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati for self-glorification and to promote the symbol of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). A Bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Swatanter Kumar passed this order on an application filed by the Commission for a direction to the State government to furnish details of the number of statues of elephants and Ms. Mayawati to decide the issue before it.

The Bench said: “We are informed that the matter has been argued [in the Commission] threadbare on the aspect of maintainability on April 7. If, on the question of maintainability, the Election Commission wants further hearing, notice may be given. However, the decision shall be given by the Election Commission within a period of three months. Place the writ petition on receipt of the decision of the Election Commission.”

U.P.’s plea

Earlier, senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for U.P., said maintainability should be decided first before the Commission took up the other issues. Senior counsel Ashok Desai, appearing for the Commission, said the February 22 order of the Supreme Court made it clear that there was no need to go into maintainability.

Justice Kapadia, however, said that if the Commission held that the complaint was maintainable then it could call for material from the State government. “We want to see the decision of the EC whether the complaint is maintainable or not. Suppose the EC comes to the conclusion that the complaint is not maintainable, then there will be no need to ask for any material.” The Supreme Court earlier asked the Election Commission to pass appropriate orders on Ravi Kant’s petition.