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SC refuses to give Pressure Cooker symbol to Dhinakaran's party

SC refuses to give Pressure Cooker symbol to Dhinakarans party
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dashed the hopes of a faction led by former AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran for getting the 'pressure cooker' symbol exclusively for the upcoming Lok Sabha and assembly by-elections, but asked the Election Commission to allot a common free symbol to it.

The top court said to "ensure a level playing field" among the contesting political parties in Lok Sabha polls and by-election in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, it has directed the poll panel to allot a common free symbol to the group.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna also made it clear that if candidates fielded by Dhinakaran-led group win the elections, "they will be treated as independent candidates".

"The claim of the appellant to the symbol of 'pressure cooker' in an exclusive manner cannot be acknowledged in view of the provisions of Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and the guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India thereunder, which the appellant or his group has concededly not followed.

"We are, therefore, not inclined to grant any recognition to the appellant or his group to the symbol of 'pressure cooker'," the bench said.

It took on record the list of names of 59 candidates, marked as 'X', to be fielded by Dhinakaran led group in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and assembly by-elections in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

"The EC on due and proper satisfaction that the candidates named in the document marked with the letter 'X' (list of names) want to contest the election under any one common symbol, will make all endeavour to ensure that in the forthcoming elections..., the aforesaid candidates be allotted any one particular free symbol," the bench said. The court, clarified, that its present order will not amount to recognition of the group or its any part as a political party whether "registered" or "unregistered" and only election commission can take a decision in that regard as and when required.

It further said, "We also make it clear that in the event any of the candidates mentioned in the list marked with the letter X' is to be elected, such candidate will be counted as an independent candidate and not belonging to any political party for all purposes including for the purposes of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution".

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