IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Common Election Symbol

4th December, 2021 Polity

Figure 2: No Copyright Infringement Intended


  • The Delhi High Court asked the Election Commission (EC) to allot a common election symbol to Chandra Shekhar Azad’s political party for the upcoming assembly elections in five states.


About election Symbol:

  • An electoral or election symbol is a standardized symbol allocated to a political party.
  • They are used by the parties during their campaigning and are shown on Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), where the voter chooses the symbol and votes for the associated party.
  • They were introduced to facilitate voting by illiterate people, who can’t read the name of the party while casting their votes.
  • In the 1960s, it was proposed that the regulation, reservation and allotment of electoral symbols should be done through a law of Parliament, i.e. Symbol Order.
  • In a response to this proposal, the ECI stated that the recognition of political parties is supervised by the provisions of Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 and so will the allotment of symbols.


Power of election Commission:

  • The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 empowers the EC to recognise political parties and allot symbols.
  • Under Paragraph 15 of the Order, it can decide disputes among rival groups or sections of a recognised political party staking claim to its name and symbol.


Types of Symbol:

  • For the purpose of this Order symbols are either reserved or free.
  • Reserved symbol is a symbol which is reserved for a recognised political party for exclusive allotment to contesting candidates set up by that party.
  • Free symbol is a symbol other than a reserved symbol.

Allotment of Symbol:

  • As per the guidelines, to get a symbol allotted:
  • A party/candidate has to provide a list of three symbols from the EC’s free symbols list at the time of filing nomination papers.
  • Among them, one symbol is allotted to the party/candidate on a first-come-first-serve basis.
  • When a recognised political party splits, the Election Commission takes the decision on assigning the symbol.