New Delhi: The chairman of the All India Bar Association has moved the Election Commission of India (ECI) asking the poll body to "restrain the Congress from using the national flag as an attachment to its electoral symbol", calling it "unauthorised" and in breach of the Representation of People Act, 1951.

Adish Aggarwala said in his plaint that while the ECI had banned the use of symbols related to the defence forces in elections, "it has probably skipped the otherwise watchful eyes of Election Commission of India that the Congress Party and its candidates have been rampantly and brazenly using the National Flag of India as adjunct to its election symbol."

Alleging that the Congress was using the Tricolour for furthering its political prospects by exploiting the sentiment of nationalism of the people, Aggarwala said, "The party flag of Congress party uses a hand instead of the Ashok Chakra. The use of colours and their placement is the same as that of the National Flag. Therefore, there is no substantial difference for the common man who primarily identifies with the tricolour."

"Under Section 100 of Representation of People Act, 1951, if any person indulges in a corrupt practice, his election is liable to be declared void. The term “Corrupt Practices” has been defined under Section 2 (c) of the Act as those specified in Section 123 of the Act. Section 123 (3) of the said Act provides that the use of national symbol such as the National Flag by a candidate for furthering prospects of his election is a corrupt practice," the chair of All India Bar Association added.
The symbol allotted to the Congress Party is only of a hand and not the National Flag. The use of the national symbol as an appendage, adjunct to the hand, is being done obviously to further the prospects of the election of candidates of the Congress Party in the Parliamentary Elections - 2019. The national flag is being shown to appeal to the feeling of nationalism and patriotism of citizens of the country to electorally capitalise on their sentiments, and to thereby strengthen and bolster prospects of the Congress Party and its candidates," he said in the complaint. 

Aggarwala also demanded the seizure of all such campaign material from Congress. "All material including banners and pamphlets displaying such misleading and manipulated symbols must be seized from the offices of Congress Party and its candidates, besides other places wherever found," he said.

Alleging that "Such deceptive use of the flag causes a manipulative psychological impact on the masses," Aggarwala also pointed out that such use was against the Fundamental Duty envisaged in Article 51 that charged every citizen to "abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem. The Congress party by using tricolour deceptively brings disrepute to the National Flag."