Himansu Shekhar Rout

The Orissa High Court reportedly refused to intervene in a case related to the alleged use of the conch symbol (the party symbol of ruling Biju Janata Dal) in government advertisements, citing grounds that the Election Commission of India (ECI) has already admitted the issue.

The HC made such an observation on Monday while hearing a case filed by BJP leader, Jatin Mohanty. The HC also observed that the case can be taken up for hearing if the ECI's decision on the issue is not satisfactory for the petitioner.

The general secretary of Odisha BJP, Jatin Mohanty had earlier drawn the attention of the ECI towards the use of conch symbol. He pointed out that such advertisements with the symbol of the ruling party violate the ECI guidelines.

Citing that the ECI did not take any steps in the matter for two months, he moved the Supreme Court. However, the apex court quashed the case during the admission stage, observing that it falls under a different jurisdiction and the petitioner may approach the proper forum.

Later, the BJP leader moved the Delhi High Court which also cited the jurisdiction issue and advised the appellant to approach the Orissa High Court.

Subsequently, the BJP leader moved the Orissa High Court.

Meanwhile, the ECI has issued a notification to the state government and the BJD on the matter, seeking replies from them.

When the BJP leader’s case came up for hearing on Monday, the HC observed that as the ECI has started hearing the case and the government and the BJD have received notices, it would not intervene in the issue for the time being. 

The HC also noted that if the complainant is unhappy over the final decision of the ECI, then he can approach the court again.

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