Election FAQs: What is the Model Code of Conduct?

The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is a set of rules put in force by the Election Commission of India (ECI) to guarantee free and fair elections in the country.
Last Updated : 06 November 2023, 07:20 IST
Last Updated : 06 November 2023, 07:20 IST

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With the Election Commission of India (ECI) announcing the dates for the Legislative Assembly elections for Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Telangana, the Model Code of Conduct has come into force. All political leaders and parties associated with the electoral process are bound by this code.

But what exactly is a Model Code of Conduct (MCC)?

Here's everything you need to know:

The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is a set of rules put in force by the Election Commission of India (ECI) to guarantee free and fair elections in the country. It is a set of rules that have evolved as a result of political parties agreeing to follow the principles embodied in the code. It also binds them to respect and follow it in letter and spirit.

When and where does the MCC come into play?

*The MCC is valid from the date of the election schedule announcement, either to the Parliament, state Assemblies or districts, and continues through the election in question.

*The MCC is valid throughout the poll-bound state in case of Assembly elections. In the case of Parliamentary or general elections, the MCC is valid throughout the country.

*In the case of by-elections to districts, the MCC is valid throughout the district where the election will be held.

Where does the ECI into the equation?

The ECI ensures the code's observance by political parties including ruling parties at the Centre and in the states and also ensures free, fair and peaceful elections to the Parliament and the State Legislatures.

It also makes sure that official machinery for electoral purposes is not misused. Further, it ensures that electoral offences, malpractices such as impersonation, bribing and inducement of voters, as well as threats to and intimidation of voters, are prevented.

What constraints do governments face when enforcing the MCC?

1. Ministers can’t combine official visits with their electioneering work. They also cannot make use of official machinery or personnel during electioneering.

2. No means of transportation, including official aircraft and vehicles, may be used to advance the interests of any party or candidate.

3. A total ban on transfer and posting of all officers/officials directly or indirectly connected with the conduct of the election is put into effect. If a transfer or posting of an officer is deemed necessary, prior approval from the ECI is required.

4. No minister, whether Union or state, may summon any election-related officer of the constituency or the state for any official discussions anywhere.

5. If a Union minister is required to travel outside of Delhi for purely official reasons that cannot be avoided in the public interest, a letter certifying this must be sent from the concerned Secretary of the Ministry/Department to the Chief Secretary of the concerned state, with a copy to the ECI.

6. Advertisements regarding the party’s achievements at the cost of public exchequer in print and electronic media and the misuse of official mass media are prohibited.

7. If a state or Union government order has been issued in relation to a scheme but no work has begun until the MCC is in effect, no work shall be started in that regard. However, if work has already begun in the field, it can be continued.

8. No new funds can be released under the MPs/MLAs/MLCs' Local Area Development Fund of any scheme in any area where an election is taking place until the election is completed.

9. Financial institutions funded fully or partially by the government shall not take recourse to write off loans advanced to any individual, company, firm, etc. Also, while granting or extending loans, the financial limits of such institutions should not be enhanced by issuing loans indiscriminately to beneficiaries.

Published 06 November 2023, 07:20 IST

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