SEC violates its own order on poll code

BBMP elections: Code of conduct to come into force from Jan 15

SEC violates its own order on poll code

 
At a press conference called to announce the poll schedule on Monday, State Election Commissioner C R Chikmath defended his decision by saying there was nothing unconstitutional about his decision. 

"It is not necessary that the model code of conduct should come into effect the moment the election dates are declared. The rule book (Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act) permits me to do so," said Chikmath.

The official defended the delayed enforcement of the code of conduct stating that already model code was in force due to the ongoing Legislative Council election process. Also, the Commission needed time to train officers.

On the website

However, the State Election Commission website says, “The code of conduct will come into force from the date of announcement of poll dates, and will be in force till the completion of election process." The guidelines on model code of conduct have been issued by Chikmath.

At the press conference the official did not agree with a questioner that he had given a free hand to the government to implement programmes in the next few weeks.  He claimed that there was no that pressure or compulsion from the government. "I have got discretionary powers, which I have exercised. There is nothing like illegal," said Chikmath.

Divergent opinions

The opinion was divided on the decision. While the opposition Congress and some experts cried foul, some felt technically the State Election Commission had done not done anything wrong.

"This BBMP election is not in the right spirit of democracy. The whole objective of bringing the model code of conduct into effect soon after declaring the election date is to prevent misuse of power and hold fair elections. Giving almost 40 days time to the government is nothing but a mockery of the electoral process," said a legal luminary speaking on the condition of anonymity.

He also added that he was also shocked to learn the way election dates have been designed.

Former mayor P R Ramesh was quite vocal against the Election Commission.
Ramesh had filed the PIL to install an elected body in the BBMP. The former mayor claimed that the court had directed the commission to come out with the notification on or before December 7 but it did not say that just declare the election dates. "This is nothing but violating the court order. I strongly feel that the election commission lacks transparency," he said.

Meanwhile, a political observor said there is nothing wrong legally.

"Technically the State Election Commission is not wrong. It is going ahead in the proper way," said the expert.

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