Bhopal: Relying on an earlier (19 May 2014) order of the Election Commission of India, which states that “names of the political parties seeking registration should not have any religious connotation and that the names should not be similar to the names of existing political parties…,” the Jabalpur High Court has dismissed a Writ Petition filed on 14 November to challenge the EC order of 6 November 2018, regarding the registration of “Sapaks Party”, mainly on the ground that the name of the new party is identical to “Sapaks Samaj”, which stands for “Samanya Pichda Alpsankhyak Kalyan Samaj Sanstha”, a registered society crusading against caste based reservation; reservation in promotion; and the SC/ST Atrocities Act since 2016.
The High Court order passed by a division bench comprising the Chief Justice Mr. Justice S.K. Seth and Mr. Justice Vishnu Pratap Singh Chauhan states: “It is not the case that the petitioner society is an existing political party or that the registration has any religious connotation having any adverse political effect.”
In this matter, the main contention of the petitioner, Lalit Shastri, the founder President of Samaks Samaj, was that the registration of a political party by the name of “Sapaks” would create confusion in the minds of the people as they would obviously think that “Sapaks Samaj” a popular voluntary social organisation leading a mass movement against reservation and the Atrocities Act is now engaged in electoral politics. It was also pointed out through the petition that there is another organisation also called Sapaks. It is the abbreviation for Samanya Pichda Alpsankhyak varg Adikari Karmchari Sanstha, an organisation of MP Government officers and employees adversely affected by the State provision for reservation in promotion for SCs and STs.
Through the writ petition, it was pointed out that the EC decision to grant registration to Sapaks Party was taken without giving a proper hearing on the objection raised in this matter.
The HC order says: “Careful reading of the order dated 6.11.2018 would show that “the application for registration was submitted after publication of public notice in news papers” and order of registration was passed by the Election Commission of India after considering the objections.
As far as the factual position is concerned, contrary to what has been stated in the order, “the application for registration was submitted before and not after the publication of public notice in news papers”.
The petitioner pointed out in his petition that the order of registration was passed by the Election Commission of India without giving the petitioner an opportunity of hearing on the objections raised by him despite a formal request.
Through the petition, the Court’s attention was also drawn to the issue of arbitrariness and a request was made for investigation into alleged connivance in this matter between the Chief Election Commissioner and the President of Sapaks Party as both of them were retired IAS Officers borne in the same M.P. Cadre having good acquaintance with each other.