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PIL challenging EC’s order on covering elephants dismissed

Statues of elephants being covered as per the directives of Election Commission at the Samajik Parivartan Sthal in Lucknow. Photo: Subir Roy

Statues of elephants being covered as per the directives of Election Commission at the Samajik Parivartan Sthal in Lucknow. Photo: Subir Roy   | Photo Credit: Subir Roy

The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation challenging the order of the Election Commission to cover statues of elephant installed at various places in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.

In its order, a Division Bench, comprising Justice Amar Saran and Justice Ramesh Sinha, said the petitioner was “misguided in filing this frivolous petition on a misunderstanding of the correct legal position.”

The elephant is the poll symbol of the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party which opposed the petition.

Earlier this month, the Election Commission had ordered covering of all statues of the elephant and Chief Minister Mayawati till the electoral process was over in the state.

The PIL was filed by Dheeraj Pratap Singh, a graduate from Kanpur University and at present living in Allahabad, who said he had “no political ambitions.”

Mr. Singh had submitted the Election Commission order was “an infringement of his religious faith” as elephant is “one of the seven forms of the godhead and it is impermissible to cover the statues for the entire election period.”

The Bench was of the view that installation of statues by the state government was “a purely secular activity.”

“There is no material to indicate that the public or any section of the public are looking at the statues in parks in Lucknow, Noida and Gautam Buddh Nagar as religious symbols,” it said.

“Hence, any direction to cover the statues could not be said to be an interference with the essential or integral part of the faith or practices of the followers of Hindu faith,” the Bench said.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 8:01:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/PIL-challenging-EC%E2%80%99s-order-on-covering-elephants-dismissed/article13379415.ece

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