The Election Commission of India Must be Quick to Uphold the Sanctity of the Model Code of Conduct!

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ECI
  • The ongoing Lok Sabha polls have seen five phases so far with two more to be concluded. We are aware that the Lok Sabha polls are considered the mother of all elections where the entire country votes to select the Members of Parliament for a five-year term. Yes, we are quite acquainted with the two main national political parties which are positioned at opposite ends with the by-now familiar communal versus secular narration taking center stage. Of course, there are several equally strong regional parties aligned with the two national parties forming alliances to impress upon the electorate. We also know how the Election Commission of India (ECI) has gained the trust of the nation in carrying out free, fair, and peaceful elections over the decades.

MCC

PC: Jagran Josh

  • The ECI has lived up to its reputation time and again duly receiving worldwide recognition for conducting such a humongous exercise with panache. When the ECI announces the dates for the polling, the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) kicks in with clearly delineated dos and don’ts for the political parties to observe. The moot point to ponder over here is whether the ECI has succeeded in ensuring the MCC is observed in letter and spirit. Let’s delve deep to understand this. On Monday, Calcutta HC is hearing an appeal against its order restraining BJP from publishing ads it found had violated MCC. HC was sharp – it held EC had grossly failed to address the violation of MCC. It was a rare, even troubling observation that a constitutional court pulled up the poll body.
  • Mind you, the ECI is also a constitutional authority tasked to ensure the MCC is upheld. HC found the ads to be slanderous and derogatory. One ad in Bengali appeared to use religion to target Trinamool. Another ad was published on May 12, a day before the fourth phase of polling in Bengal – MCC mandates a 48-hour silence period before poll days. These are routine violations that the EC could have swiftly handled. Trinamool moved the court alleging the EC had not acted on its complaints. For the EC’s good, the political party should not have felt the need to approach the court. That it did demand institutional introspection within EC. Notably, the SC has been on constant poll duty ever since the first phase of the Lok Sabha polling began.

EC

PC: LiveLaw

  • Following the electoral bonds case, it has in its docket cases vital to EC’s constitutional authority – appointments of ECs, EVM-VVPATs, vacancies in legislatures, and the Maharashtra cases including assigning of party symbols. Both public and political parties are turning to the courts frequently on matters jurisdictionally in EC’s ambit. Courts have desisted by throwing out frivolous pleas, discarded irrelevant claims, patiently heard activists and campaigners – returning petitioners repeatedly to EC, whose remit is the conduct of free and fair elections, and ensuring a level playing field. The EC must strive to uphold the perception that it is a neutral arbiter. In fiercely contested elections, the EC must go the extra mile and further its reputation without hesitation.

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Krishna MV
Krishna is a Post Graduate with specialization in English Literature and Human Resource Management, respectively. Having served the Indian Air Force with distinction for 16 years, Armed Forces background definitely played a very major role in shaping as to who & what he is right now. Presently, he is employed as The Administrator of a well known educational institute in Bangalore. He is passionate about sharing thoughts by writing articles on the current affairs / topics with insightful dissection and offering counter / alternate views thrown in for good measure. Also, passionate about Cricket, Music – especially vintage Kannada & Hindi film songs, reading – non-fictional & Self-Help Books, and of course, fitness without compromising on the culinary pleasures.