ELECTION SYMBOL (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     15th April 2024        
output themes

Context: Election symbols are a critical component of elections. They are a party’s identity, and help voters recognise candidates. When parties split, a battle is fought for its election symbol.

Election Symbol

  • About: Election symbols were recognized as crucial tools in a low literacy rate environment like India pre-1951, prompting the Election Commission to prioritize their selection carefully.
  • Criteria for Symbol Selection: Symbols had to be easily recognizable and devoid of any religious or sentimental connotations, such as national flags or religious symbols, to ensure neutrality and inclusivity.
  • Limited Choices: Recognized national and state parties were presented with a selection of 26 pre-approved symbols by the Election Commission, reflecting a diverse yet restricted range of options.
  • Allotment of symbols

oRegulatory Framework: Rules 5 and 10 of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, outline the Election Commission's authority to specify permissible symbols for candidates and the associated regulations.

oReserved Symbols: The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, categorizes symbols as either "reserved" for exclusive use by recognized political parties or "free" for general use, ensuring fairness and order in symbol allotment.

  • Under Paragraph 15 of the Order:  EC can decide disputes among rival groups or sections of a recognised political party staking claim to its name and symbol.
  • Authority of the Election Commission: The EC is the only authority to decide issues on a dispute or a merger under the order, as upheld by the Supreme Court.