SC declines petition on delaying poll symbol hearing

SC declines petition on delaying poll symbol hearing
The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a plea by AIADMK leader T T V Dhinakaran against the scheduled hearing on his faction’s claim to the two-leaves party symbol before the Election Commission.

The faction headed by jailed AIADMK leader V K Sasikala and Dhinakaran are staking claim to the symbol, saying a majority of the party are with them. And, the faction led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam have asked the poll authority for the symbol, citing the loyalty of a majority of MLAs, MPs and local leaders.

“The Election Commission is a constitutional body. It knows how to decide who is authorised to use an election symbol. It will follow the procedure,” a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said.

The court offered slight relief to Dhinakaran by rescheduling the hearing on the symbol dispute at the Election Commission by an hour — from 3 to 4 pm — on Friday.

It also extended the deadline to resolve the dispute from October 31 — given by the Madras High Court — to November 10.

“The Election Commission has the authority under the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, to decide who is entitled to retain the symbol in case of a dispute,” the bench said.

Senior advocate Ashok Desai, representing the Dhinakaran faction, challenged the September 15 and October 5 orders of the Madras High Court’s Madurai bench to respond to the affidavits filed by the rival faction.

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