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Supreme Court dismisses PIL against ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan in West Bengal Election 2021

Ajeyo Basu

LAST UPDATED: March 10, 2021, 1:48 p.m.

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has achieved two victories in the Supreme Court ahead of the West Bengal assembly elections.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court rejected the petition filed against the use of the slogan ‘Jai Shri Ram’ in the West Bengal election 2021 campaign. In another case, the Supreme Court stayed the arrest warrant issued against former IPS officer Bharti Ghosh, a BJP candidate from the Debra assembly constituency in West Bengal.

The PIL filed by Supreme Court lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma said that the use of religious slogans is an offence under sections 123 (3) and 125 of the Representation of People Act. According to these provisions, no candidate or any person associated with the election process is allowed to incite feelings in the name of religion, caste, community or language.

The petition also named Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP leader Shubhendu Adhikari and demanded that the CBI register a case against them. At the same time there was a demand to stop the politics party from using religious slogans. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde dismissed the petition and asked the petitioner to go to the High Court.

A bench of Justices S Bopanna and V Ramasubramaniam with the CJI said, “In this situation, the only remedy is seeking a vote in the name of religion, from the election petition to the High Court.” The decision of the Election Commission of India was also questioned. Sharma said in the petition that in other states elections are being held in one phase while in Bengal elections are being held in 8 phases, while it is not facing any terrorist attack nor is it a disturbed area, it is in the Constitution of India. Violation of Article 14 (Right to Equality).

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When Sharma wanted to debate this point, the bench said, “We have read your entire petition. We will not listen to it. The petition is dismissed.”

Senior Advocate Harish Salve appeared on behalf of the Election Commission, but he did not need to make any argument.

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