“No similarity between painting on buses and party symbol"

The ruling AIADMK has filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court challenging a portion of an Election Commission (EC)’s communication relating to a direction on the painting of leaves on Small Buses in Chennai.

In the communication, dated March 10, to the Chief Electoral Officer, Tamil Nadu, the EC had said that the “painting of leaves resembling AIADMK symbol appearing on Small Buses plying in Chennai may be suitably covered so that it does not become mobile advertisements for that party.” This communication was produced by the EC’s counsel on Thursday when a petition filed by the DMK came up for hearing.

In the petition, filed through counsel P.H.Manoj Pandian, the AIADMK general secretary, Jayalalithaa, said the Small Buses were launched on October 23 last year. Without granting an opportunity to the party to be heard, the EC had prejudged that the painting of leaves on the buses resembled the AIADMK symbol.

There was no similarity between the painting on the buses and the party’s symbol. The eco-friendly buses with the painting of green leaves were launched much before the election notification for the coming parliamentary polls was issued and much before the model code of conduct took effect. Hence, the EC’s order was unreasonable.

Ms.Jayalalithaa detailed the differences between the party symbol and the design on the Small Buses.

The design of four green leaves on the buses had nothing to do with the party symbol. The impugned order was totally illegal in as much as it cast aspersions against the AIADMK, the party in power.

She said that in the same communication, the EC had stated that no interference was required with respect to the gate of the MGR memorial as it was constructed before the coming into force of the model code of conduct. The same reason would apply to the paintings on the Small Buses also since the vehicles were plying before the model code came into effect.

A mention was made in the afternoon before the Acting Chief Justice, Satish K.Agnihotri, about the proposed filing of the petition.

The matter is likely to come up before the court on March 17.

All matters relating to the coming parliamentary elections would be heard only by the First Bench, as per a High Court circular.

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