HC issues notice to EC on plea against Akali Dal

April 19, 2018 10:40 PM

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to Election Commission and others on a plea seeking cancellation of registration of the Akali Dal as a political party.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar issued notice to Akali Dal, the Election Commission, the Punjab State Election Commission, the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committe, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Gurdwara Election Commission and others and posted the matter for September 12.

The court was hearing a plea filed by social activist Balwant Singh Khera through counsel Prashant Bhushan and Indira Unninayar.

Khera, in his plea, told the court that Akali Dal obtained registration as a political party by committing fraud and forgery.

"The party falsely undertook to be 'secular' in its application for registration in 1989 as a political party, by fabricating a document titled 'Rules and Regulations', and filing it along with its application merely to appear to be complying with Section 29A of The Representation of People Act which requires such undertaking for political parties to get themselves registered," he said.

However, the Akali Dal has always remain a religio-political party which has maintained its public alignment with Sikh religion by contesting elections to the religious bodies like SGPC and DSGMC, the plea said, adding its public alignment with the Sikh religion is also evident through its religious symbolism in order to capture and consolidate its vote-bank among the Sikh electorate.

The party has committed several such frauds or a 'series of frauds' and fabrication of documents in order to remain qualified as a valid political party, the plea said.

The Constitution, the Representation of People Act and the Supreme Court prohibit political parties from alignment with any religion.

The petitioner said that the Akali Dal knowingly committed fraud and continues to enjoy the benefits of registration as a political party although it has always been a "religious based political party".

Formed in the 1920s, as the political wing of SGPC, the apex religious body of the Sikhs, the party later, tried to control the SGPC , Khera said alleging that the EC has failed, despite its duties and powers, to set aside the void registration.

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