Is the Model Code of Conduct An Avoidable Obstrution in the Administration?

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Code of Conduct
  • The general elections are held every five years in India is a known fact. However, interspersed with the general elections are various other forms of polling, such as state assembly, legislative council, Rajya Sabha, by-polls, corporation/municipal/panchayat polls, etc. In other words, the country will witness one or the other form of election around the year at any given point in time. Or the election preparations will be underway. Of course, what this also entails is the administration at some of the state level will be preparing for the various elections. People must be wondering as to what’s happening around even as the administration gears up for conducting the polling. Mind you, the election commission must prepare lots of groundwork before announcing the polls.

Code of Conduct

PC: Live Law

  • As you are aware, the general election or for that matter, state assembly elections are planned months in advance. The Election Commission of India (ECI) is responsible for conducting free, fair, and peaceful elections. To its credit, the ECI has rendered fabulous performances over the years bringing in accolades from around the world. Imagine, conducting free, fair, and peaceful elections time and again involving such a mammoth number of eligible voters alongside meticulous logistical planning calls for great teamwork. The purpose of this article here is to attempt to comprehend how the model code of conduct is hampering the day-to-day administration of government machinery both in the Centre and the States, respectively.
  • We know how the model code of conduct comes into effect the moment the dates for the elections are announced and will be in force till the last phase of the polling ends. The code will be enforced in the ongoing seven-phase general elections until 03rd June 2024. Remember, the dates of the polling were announced on 16th March 2024. Since then, the entire electoral machinery of poll officials involving government personnel from various departments means the day-to-day administration has taken a backseat. Even the law-and-order enforcement agencies will be busy maintaining peace during the electioneering. Now, no populist measures can be announced during the period that would otherwise be construed as an attempt at influencing the electorate. What happens to the administration process then?

Code of Conduct

PC: Live Law

  • Yes, the ongoing welfare measures/schemes already in force and critical aspects of the administration will function unhindered. However, the fact of the matter is no popular schemes and/or announcements can be taken forward since the code debars the same. A question arises as to what will happen if there is a natural disaster of monumental proportions that would entail immediate relief for the affected. Here, the code doesn’t disallow the administration to step in with required relief measures. Nonetheless, knowing fully well how our political class wishes to milk any opportunity for parochial considerations allowing them to consolidate assiduously built vote banks, the code will be rendered ineffective. Is there a middle way? No.