New Delhi: The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) on Monday submitted before the Supreme Court that the organisation should not be de-registered just because it has “Muslim” in its party name and uses certain religious symbols in its flag.
IUML also claimed that it was an “inherently” secular party and added that it now has more than 100 elected members in the local bodies that belong to Hindu and Christian community in the state of Kerala.
The party filed a counter affidavit against a plea seeking ban on political parties which use names and symbols with religious connotations. In its affidavit, IUML said that the erstwhile minister of Education in the Kerala government ET Mohammad Basheer was responsible for establishment of the University of Sanskrit in the state.
The affidavit was filed by IUML’s General Secretary P K Kunhalikutty on the directions of the court in response to a petition filed by former president of Shia Waqf Board Syed Waseem Rizvi (who recently converted to Jeetendra Tyagi) seeking de-registration of political parties using name of religion and religious symbol in their names and symbols and bar them from contesting.
“IUML is carrying out charitable activities within the society on secular and non political basis. The principles and idea of secularism, democracy justice, liberty, equality and fraternity enshrined in the Constitution of India is intended to practice in the life in this Country and not to display it as a sham name board,” the affidavit read.
“Many political parties which are having such fabulous names are now practicing against the principles and ideas enshrined in the constitution and therefore appraisal is necessarily to be carried out on the basis of activities of a political party. Though it does aim to protect the cultural and religious identity of muslims, it is with harmony and unity with India’s diverse demography and is inherently secular”, read the affidavit filed by IUML through Supreme Court advocate Haris Beeran.
What is the PIL about
Shia Waqf Board Syed Waseem Rizvi sought a ban on IUML mentioning green flags with crescent and star, akin to that of Pakistan Muslim League atop buildings and religious places in the country and termed it “un-Islamic”.
“Such flags are being hoisted in Muslim-dominated areas with utmost impunity”, the public interest litigation said, claiming that the crescent and star in a green backdrop have never been part of any Islamic practice and do not have any role or significance in Islam.
Sr Adv Gaurav Bhatia, who appeared for Rizvi earlier, had argued, “There are political parties whose name and symbols violate Representation of Peoples (RP) Act. There are parties with flag having crescent moon and stars. Political parties cant have in their name a religious connotation. If a party with a religous name seeks votes, he will be violating RP Act and secularism”.
A bench of Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna will be hearing the PIL tomorrow.