Cuttack, Dec 18 :
The High Court on Wednesday rejected Odisha Jan Morcha’s plea to use its newly acquired election symbol, ‘kite’ in the ensuing the Bhubaneswar Muncipal Corporation ( BMC ) polls and upheld the decision of the State Election Commissioner (SEC) in the matter.
The verdict, which came as a major setback to the OJM which had plans to launch its electoral campaign with the BMC with its new election symbol, was delivered by a two-member division bench comprising the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Akshay Kumar Rath.
The court agreed with the contention of the SEC that OJM had had failed to apply to the State Election Commission to contest the BMC polls with its election symbol, 5 days before the poll notification, as is prescribed under Section 10 (B) of the Election Symbol ( Reservation & Allotment ) Order of 1968.
The court upheld the argument of the SEC’s counsel Pitambar Acharya that OJM had been allocated the ‘kite’ symbol only on December 12 whereas the Commission had issued the poll notification six days earlier i.e. on December 6.
SEC’s counsel had argued that OJM had submitted its request to use the ‘kite’ symbol for the BMC polls only on December 13, a week after the poll notification and the SEC had to reject it purely on the basis of the existing rules.
OJM counsel Suresh Tripathy’stand that the SEC ‘s decision is unconstitutional in view of an order of the Chief Election Commissioner of India on February 9, 1996 was set aside because the said order is applicable only to recognised political parties and not to a new outfit like the OJM, sources said.
The High Court order, however, said the SEC could still consider OJM’s request if it so desired.
Now, with the SEC unlikely to review its stand on the use of the ‘kite’ symbol in the BMC polls, the OJM has has little option than field candidates sans symbol.
Whether the party would still choose to remain in the fray despite the symbol handicap could not be immediately ascertained.