SC allows Sharad Pawar faction to use name NCP-SCP, 'tutari' symbol in LS polls

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The SC bench directed the Election Commission and State Election Commission (SEC) to recognise the NCP-SCP and its symbol 'man blowing turha'. Image: Onmanorama

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the Sharad Pawar faction to use 'Nationalist Congress Party-Sharadchandra Pawar' (NCP-SCP) as its name for the upcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the country. A bench of Justices Surya Kant and KV Viswanathan also permitted the NCP bloc led by the veteran politician to use as its symbol 'man blowing turha' (a traditional trumpet also known as tutari).

The bench also directed the Election Commission and State Election Commission (SEC) to recognise the NCP-SCP and its symbol, and not allot the 'man blowing turha' symbol to any other party or independent candidate.

The apex court also restrained the Ajit Pawar faction from using the name or photograph of NCP founder Sharad Pawar in any election campaign materials. The bench passed the order on a plea by the Sharad Pawar group seeking to restrain the Ajit Pawar faction from using the 'clock' symbol for the polls, as allotted by the Election Commission, on the ground that it is disrupting the level playing field. The NCP, founded by Sharad Pawar, had 'clock' as its election symbol before its split. The symbol is now with the Ajit Pawar faction.

The SC asked the Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar-led faction to issue a public notice in newspapers in English, Hindi and Marathi saying that the 'clock' symbol is sub-judice and its use is subject to adjudication. The bench said the Ajit Pawar faction should make similar declarations in all election related audio-visual advertisements and publicity material like banners and posters.

It asked the Ajit Pawar camp to file its response within four weeks on the Sharad Pawar group's plea against the February 6 order of the Election Commission recognising the former as the real Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

On February 19, the top court had directed that the Election Commission's order allotting 'Nationalist Congress Party-Sharadchandra Pawar' as the party name for the Sharad Pawar faction will continue till further orders.

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