A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud today agreed to hear Pramod Muthalik's plea, which also sought directions to the Election Commission to delete the Congress party's alleged appeal in its manifesto.
Advocate Vishnu Jain mentioned the matter for urgent listing and said there was a seven-judge bench judgment which prohibited seeking of votes in the name of religion.
Issue a direction commanding the Election Commission of India to exercise its powers and ensure that Indian National Congress deletes the appeal to vote on religious basis made under the heading 'Social justice -strengthening the social fabric for smooth progress' in sub-heading 'ensure right to equality' occurring at pages 36 and 37 of the election manifesto issued for general election for Karnataka Legislative Assembly, 2018 before start of polling," the plea said.
Pramod Muthalik's petition also seeks to treat the candidates of the Congress party as "disqualified" to contest the election and to strike off their names from the ballot papers.
Under the sub-heading 'ensure right to equality' in the manifesto released on April 27, the Congress proposes to improve social and economic status of minorities by allocating more budget for their welfare programmes.
In the relevant pages, the Congress also promises an insurance scheme for health and children's education of minority auto and taxi drivers in the manifesto. It also speaks of upgrading Morarji Desai Schools with hostels for girls, under the sub-heading of the 'ensure right to equality' of the Congress manifesto.
The petition of the right-wing Rashtriya Hindu Sena chief says "issue a direction that Indian National Congress, by making an appeal on religious basis by issuing election manifesto of the party on April 27, 2018, for Karnataka Legislative Assembly, 2018, has violated the provisions of section 123(3) of Representation of People Act and all the candidates set up by the party has incurred disqualification to contest the said election."
It also sought derecognising the Congress as a national party.
The assembly election in Karnataka is slated for May 12 and the results scheduled to be announced on May 15.
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