HC directs authorities to issue ‘plough’ symbol to NC in Ladakh

 J&K High Court, Srinagar
J&K High Court, SrinagarMubashir Khan/GK File

Srinagar: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh Thursday directed election authorities to issue “plough” symbol to National Conference (NC) for contesting ensuing election to Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Kargil.

A bench of Justice Sindhu Sharma issued the direction after hearing the parties through their counsel.

“Keeping in view that the upcoming General Election of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) stands announced, the petitioner-party (NC) is directed to approach the office of the respondents 1 to 3 and 5 (UT of Ladakh, District Election Officer Kargil and Administrative Secretary Election Department (Ladakh) for notifying the reserved symbol (plough) already allotted to it,” the court said. “Respondents 1 to 3 and 5 should notify the symbol allotted to petitioner-party in terms of Paragraphs 10 and 10 (A) of Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, and allow the candidates set up by the petitioner-party to contest on the reserved election symbol (plough) already allotted to the party.”

The NC in its plea through Advocate Shariq J Reyaz, contended that it being the incumbent political party in power in the present LAHDC, Kargil, sought to contest the upcoming elections of LAHDC on allocated reserved election symbol (plough).

The party said that the authorities had not notified the election symbol already allotted and reserved by the party for the upcoming elections, which, it said, had deprived the party from contesting the election on the symbol.

In response to the plea, Deputy Solicitor General of lndia, T M Shamsi contended that on the ground that the party is not a recognised State Political Party in Ladakh and is only recognised as state political party for Jammu and Kashmir.

“The symbol is reserved only for J&K as per the notification issued by Election Commission of India,” he said. “The allotment of symbols in terms of notification dated July 26, 2023, is regarding national parties’ free symbols to be chosen by other than recognised political parties for the elections to LAHDC, Kargil.

No party has been recognized or identified as a state party in Ladakh, therefore, no symbol has been reserved for them.”

In terms of Rules 17 and 18 of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (Election) Rules, 1995, symbols are reserved only for political parties recognised by the Election Commission as national or state parties.

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