Muthalik’s plea on Congress manifesto dismissed by SC

The Supreme Court today dismissed Rashtriya Hindu Sena chief Pramod Muthalik’s plea alleging that the Congress party was seeking votes in the name of religion in its election manifesto in Karnataka.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud said that the election process had started and it cannot intervene. The bench also said that assuring minority communities about elevating them from social and economic backwardness did not amount to seeking votes on the ground of religion.

In a short order dismissing the petition, Chief Justice Misra, speaking for the Bench, said after the election is over, if the parties feel aggrieved, they can come under the requisite provisions under the Representation of People Act.

The Rashtriya Hindu Sena chief had sought directions to the Election Commission to delete the Congress party’s alleged appeal in its manifesto. The plea had sought disqualification of those Congress candidates who allegedly sought votes in the name of religion in the polls.

The plea had alleged that the appeal to vote on religious basis was made in pages 36 and 37 of the manifesto in the section headlined ‘Social justice-strengthening the social fabric for smooth progress’.

Advocate Vishnu Jain had argued that there is a seven-judge Bench judgment that prohibits seeking of votes in the name of religion.

The Assembly elections in Karnataka on May 12 will be held in 223 of the 224 constituencies and the results are scheduled to be announced on May 15.

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