The Delhi High Court on Friday sought a response from the Centre, Election Commission of India, and 26 political parties on a petition seeking to restrain opposition parties from using the acronym INDIA for their alliance.
Opposition bloc INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) comprising 26 parties was announced at a meeting in Bengaluru, Karnataka on July 17-18 to take on the ruling NDA in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Amit Mahajan issued notices to the ministries of Home Affairs and Information and Broadcasting, ECI and 26 political parties on the petition, saying that the matter needs to be heard.
“It has to be heard. It requires hearing. Notice issued,” the bench said.
It, however, refused to grant any interim relief at this stage and said that no order can be passed without hearing the respondents.
“We can’t pass any order like this. Let the response of the other side come. We will definitely look into it,” the bench said.
Petitioner Girish Bharadwaj said the prominent leaders and members of 16 of the 26 political parties mentioned in the memo of parties of the petition gathered at Patna in Bihar on June 23 to form an alliance for contesting the upcoming general election of 2024 and decided to meet again at Bengaluru to prepare a strategy and choose the name of alliance and its convenor.
The petition, through advocate Vaibhav Singh, said on July 17, these political parties gathered in Bengaluru to give shape to further strategies for the 2024 general election and the name of the alliance was announced to be INDIA.
These parties have said that they will contest the 2024 elections together against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), it said.
The plea has sought interim order staying the use of acronym INDIA by the political parties and to also prohibit the use of the national flag with the acronym INDIA by the respondent political alliance.
The plea referred to the statements of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
“…. by dragging the name of our Nation Mr. (Rahul) Gandhi very cunningly presented the name of their alliance as the name of our nation and tried to show that the NDA/ BJP and Hon’ble Prime Minister Mr. (Narendra) Modi is in conflict with our own nation, that is, INDIA and this attempt of Mr. Gandhi had created confusion in the mind of common people that the upcoming general election of 2024 will be a fight between political parties or between alliance and our country.
“That by creating this confusion the respondent political parties want to take undue advantage in the name of our country,” the plea said.
It said that the petitioner gave a representation to the ECI but no action was taken after which he approached the high court with the petition.
The political parties which have been arrayed as respondents are Indian National Congress, All India Trinamool Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Aam Aadmi Party, Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Janata Dal, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Nationalist Congress Party (Sharad Pawar), Shiv Sena (UBT), Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Apna Dal (Kamerawadi).
Besides, the other political parties are the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Konganadu Makkal Desia Katchi (KMDK), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and Indian Union Muslim League.
Revolutionary Socialist Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, All India Forward Bloc, Kerala Congress (Joseph), Kerala Congress (Mani) and Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) have also been arrayed as respondent parties.