"Please do not yell": Supreme Court notes discourtesy to court by Senior Lawyer in plea seeking de-registration of political parties with symbols of religious connotation

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The plea filed by Waseem Rizvi alias Jitendra Tyagi has sought cancellation of the symbol or name of such parties which symbolise any religion

Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave alleged before Supreme Court that the petition of Waseem Rizvi, now known as Jitendra Tyagi for de-registration of political parties with symbols insinuating religious connotations has been filed at behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), of which Rizvi is a member.

"They are not going against any community, but the muslims. They are only attacking one community. What about the Shiv Sena? What about the Shiromani Akali Dal?", Dave told a bench of Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna. At this juncture, Senior Advocate Gaurav Bhatia appearing for Rizvi said that he took strong objection to the statements made by the senior lawyer in a constitutional court. 

Dave then proceeded to tell court that there is a judgment of the Supreme Court which clearly stipulated that the Supreme Court would have no jurisdiction in such a case. The bench stated that it will give an opportunity to the petitioner to filed a rejoinder (a response to the replies which had come in) and will list it on February 20, however, Dave made plain that the Court should not adjourn the case at all, considering that the issue was beyond its jurisdiction. Justice MR Shah pointed out this discourtesy to the court and asked Dave not to yell. The senior lawyer continued to assert his submissions. "I am surprised that this court is adjourning it despite a judgment, why are your lordships adjourning it?," he asserted loudly.

Justice BV Nagarathna said to Justice MR Shah "Why does he shout like this?"

Amid the heated exchanges between Dave and the bench, the court proceeded to list the case on February 20, '23 and asked the petitioner's advocate to make sure that all aspects of the petition are kept in mind. "He (Dave) is saying the petitioner should be secular," said Justice Nagarathna

The top court had received replies by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM). While IUML stated that it was in fact, an inherently secular party, the AIMIM stated that the usage of word Muslimeen did not make it a communal organisation.

Senior Advocate KK Venugopal also appeared and told court that he was representing applicants' who would be affected by whatever decision the court reaches. "This judgment would overhaul the entire democratic system as we know it in terms of the Representation of People Act," he said.


The plea has submitted that using religion for luring voters is strictly prohibited under Section 123 of the Representation of People Act. It has stated that Section 123 defines what all shall be deemed to be "corrupt practices" for the purposes of the Act of 1951.

On September 5, while issuing notice on the petition, the top court had remarked that many parties like Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) may use religious symbols but they do not contest elections. 

Responding to this statement, Senior Advocate Bhatia had then said that this presumption was incorrect, as IUML had MLAs & MPs from Kerala, attributing elections to religious communities.

Case Title: Syed Waseem Rizvi vs. Election Commission of India and Anr.