The Supreme Court Monday asked the Election Commission to decide within three months a complaint seeking de-recognition of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for erecting statues of the elephant, its election symbol, all over Uttar Pradesh.
A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice Deepak Verma and Justice B.S. Chauhan issued the direction to the poll panel while hearing a lawsuit by a Delhi-based advocate Ravi Kant to stop the Uttar Pradesh government from installing statues of elephants as well as those of Chief Minister Mayawati at the cost of the public exchequer.
The bench then adjourned the hearing for three months.
The court direction came after senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, opposed Ravi Kant’s lawsuit saying that the advocate has petitioned even the election commission questioning the installation of the statues.
Opposing Kant’s lawsuit, BSP general secretary and senior counsel Satish Chandra Mishra contended that the statues are being installed under a scheme approved by the state legislature with funds allocated under the budget.
Mishra also contended that the courts cannot decide the budget of the state on the basis of so-called public interest lawsuits.
Kant told the court that he was not against the installation of statues of Dalit icons like Bhim Rao Ambedkar and his wife, but he was opposed to Mayawati getting her own statues erected and furthering her electoral prospects.
To this, Mishra said that even the union government has spent crores of rupees on memorials in places like Teen Murti Bhavan and Rajghat, but this was never questioned in any lawsuit