'Can't regulate political alliances': Poll panel on plea against INDIA acronym

08:39PM Mon 30 Oct, 2023

The Election Commission of India, in response to a petition against the use of the acronym INDIA by an alliance of 26 opposition political parties, has informed the Delhi High Court that it lacks the authority to regulate political alliances.

The ECI stated that while it is vested with the authority to register associations or bodies of individuals as political parties under Section 29A of the Representation of People Act, political alliances are not recognised as regulated entities under the Act or the Constitution.

The statement was made in response to a public interest litigation filed by a businessman named Girish Bharadwaj. In his petition, Bharadwaj argued that the use of the acronym INDIA, an essential part of the national emblem, for political purposes amounts to a violation of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950.

He expressed concern that this could adversely affect the peaceful, transparent, and fair casting of votes during the Lok Sabha elections in 2024, potentially leading to unwarranted violence and affecting the country's law and order.

However, the ECI clarified that its response should not be construed as an expression on the legality of the usage of the acronym 'INDIA' by the Opposition alliance. It maintained that its role is limited to the registration of political parties and does not extend to regulating political tie-ups.