‘Poll panel should identify grounds for party meets’

ST CORRESPONDENT
Saturday, 9 March 2019

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in Bombay High Court by activists Asim Sarode and Dr Vishwambhar Choudhari, demanding Chief Election Commissioner of India and Maharashtra State Election Commissioner identify and declare public grounds/premises where political parties can organise public meeting during elections. 

Pune: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in Bombay High Court by activists Asim Sarode and Dr Vishwambhar Choudhari, demanding Chief Election Commissioner of India and Maharashtra State Election Commissioner identify and declare public grounds

remises where political parties can organise public meeting during elections. 

The Union of India through its Secretary, Chief Election Commissioner of India, Maharashtra State Election Commissioner, Home Ministry and Director General of Police Maharashtra have been made respondents in the PIL.

The petitioners have demanded that the State Election Commission shall identify and allow specific premises in every city for every political party without discrimination, so that they can campaign and propagate their political ideas. The Director General of Police Maharashtra and Home Ministry of Maharashtra State needs to be directed that they shall not refuse permission to political parties for conducting their meetings arbitrarily.

Choudhari said, “During elections, the parties in power get various public and private spacesto conduct their public meetings. But it is not always possible for smaller political parties or leaders who are not in power, to get ‘public space or grounds’ for their political meets.”

Sarode said, “The strong and ruling political parties use their power and instruct the police not to give permission to other rival political parties to organise public meetings and thus try to suppress the ‘freedom of political expression’ of other political parties. However, under the name of security of public place, police use powers given to them in arbitrary manner. Hence during election period all parties do not get equal opportunity to conduct public meeting and peaceful gatherings.” 

The petitioners stated that the Court may make clear provisions to proper allocation of public grounds and premises for every party to propagate its political ideas.  The PIL has been filed before the Bombay High Court by the petitioner’s lawyer Adv Madhavi Tawanandi and  is expected to get listed soon.

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