Madras High Court Dismisses Plea Challenging BJP's Use of Lotus as Party Symbol

Madras High Court dismisses plea challenging Bharatiya Janata Party's use of lotus symbol, citing national significance and Election Commission rules.

The Madras High Court's dismissal of a plea regarding the lotus symbol allotment to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has stirred controversy. Filed by T Ramesh, founder of the Ahimsa Socialist Party in Tamil Nadu, the plea sought to cancel the symbol's allocation by the Election Commission of India (ECI). The bench, comprising Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy, dismissed Ramesh's plea.

Ramesh argued that since the lotus flower is India's national flower, it should not be assigned to any political party. He deemed the allotment a "disgrace to national integrity." On December 8, 2023, he contended that the lotus symbol holds religious and national significance. Therefore, assigning it to the BJP violated the ECI's rules.

During the hearing, Chief Justice Gangapurwala questioned Ramesh's grievance regarding the symbol's allotment to the BJP. Ramesh responded, alleging discrimination against other parties and asserting that "gross injustice" was being perpetrated against them.

In response, the Court directed Ramesh to deposit ₹20,000 to demonstrate his sincerity in pursuing the matter. The decision has raised questions about the intersection of national symbols, political party symbols, and the principles of fairness and equality in electoral processes.

The lotus has long been associated with the BJP and is prominently featured on its election materials. However, its use as a political symbol has sparked debates, particularly when it clashes with national symbols. Ramesh's plea reflects concerns about the sanctity of national emblems and the potential misuse of symbols in political contexts.

The Madras High Court's ruling underscores the complexities surrounding the allocation of party symbols and the need to balance political expression with national identity. It highlights the challenges faced by electoral authorities in adjudicating such matters and ensuring impartiality in symbol allocation.

Moreover, the Court's directive for Ramesh to deposit ₹20,000 signifies the importance of demonstrating genuine concern and commitment in legal proceedings. It serves as a reminder that legal actions should be pursued with sincerity and accountability.