In its reply, the IUML pointed out that Rizvi was earlier booked for hate speech. The political party has alleged that Rizvi is a fanatic who has approached the top court with unclean hands, given his criminal antecedents.
“The Petitioner is a religious fanatic who thrives on fomenting enmity between individuals on the ground of religion and his hatred towards minorities in the country is a well documented fact”, stated the reply.
The reply further made submissions at length about the secular credentials of the party.
In this regard, the IUML submitted:
” … whilst it [IUML] 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.“
The party argued that the Election Commission does not have the powers to de-register a political party on grounds of it having religious connotations in their names or symbols.
Further, a similar PIL by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay is already pending before the Delhi High Court, the reply noted.
Moreover, the IUML also recounted in its reply that a legislative bill with text similar to the prayers in the PIL had lapsed in the Lok Sabha back in 1996.
In this backdrop, the IUML urged the Court to dismiss the petition with exemplary costs.