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Delhi HC gives last chance to Govt, opposition parties to reply to plea against use of INDIA acronym

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Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, AAP leader and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and J&K NC chief Farooq Abdulla at Ramleela Maidan, in New Delhi

INDIA bloc leaders at Ramleela Maidan, in New Delhi

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday granted a last opportunity to the Centre and several opposition parties to respond to a petition seeking to restrain them from using the acronym INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance).

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A bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet PS Arora said that the replies be filed within one week to the public interest litigation which alleged that by using the INDIA acronym, the parties were taking “undue advantage in the name of our country”.

The high court, which refused to prepone the date of hearing of the petition, said an endeavour shall be made to hear and dispose of the petition on April 10.

“The contesting respondents are given the last and final opportunity to file their replies within a week,” the bench said.

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The court was hearing an application by petitioner Girish Bharadwaj seeking early hearing of the matter on the grounds that the petition was pending since August 2023 and pleadings are yet to be completes and the election schedule has already been announced by the Election Commission.

Advocate Vaibhav Singh, representing the petitioner, said eight opportunities have already been given to the central government and the opposition parties but they have not yet filed their replies.

The court was informed by advocate Sidhant Kumar that the ECI has already filed its reply in the matter.

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In November, 2023, the counsel for the central government had urged the court to grant a week or 10 days more time to file their reply.

Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, who represented nine political parties including Congress, Trinamool Congress, DMK and others, had said there were "preliminary objections" against the petition and the Supreme Court has already dealt with the issue.

The petitioner had approached the high court earlier and sought interim order staying the use of acronym INDIA by 26 political parties and to also prohibit the use of the national flag with the acronym INDIA by the respondent political alliance. The court had issued notice on the petition in August last year.

The political parties which have been arrayed as respondents include Congress, Trinamool Congress, DMK, Aam Aadmi Party, Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Janata Dal, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Nationalist Congress Party (Sharad Pawar), Shiv Sena (UBT), Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Apna Dal (Kamerawadi).

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