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'Decide pending complaints against Modi, Shah by May 5'

The Supreme Court. DH file photo

The Supreme Court on Thursday told the Election Commission to decide by May 5 all pending complaints filed by Congress party against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah for violating the Model Code of Conduct by making alleged hate speeches and invocation of Army to seek votes.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna put a writ petition by Congress MP Sushmita Dev for consideration, on May 6.

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the EC, submitted three complaints have already been decided. One would be decided during the course of the day. All members of the poll panel have to be present to decide upon the complaints. The primary work of the panel is to conduct poll, he said, indicating towards the pressing situation in which the EC was placed.

"They (complainants) extract just four lines from speeches and make us decide. We have to take out the full transcripts.," he said.

Dwivedi said by Wednesday, the EC would decide all complaints.

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for the petitioner, Congress MP Dev, pointed out that out of 11 complaints, seven were still pending.

The court, however, gave the EC time and put the matter for hearing on Monday.

Dev, through her petition, sought a direction to the EC to act on complaints filed against Modi and Shah.

She had contended the complaints filed with the poll panel must be decided within 24 hours, saying the delay of over three weeks for “deliberate and repeated violations affected the level playing field and made the PM a habitual offender”.

Dev, an MP from Silchar in Assam, said it was in public domain that Modi and Shah have indulged in hate speeches, repeatedly used the armed forces for political propaganda, despite a clear prohibition by the EC.

"The Prime Minister in blatant violation of the MCC held a rally on the day of polling in Gujarat on April 23rd, 2019 i.e. date of voting for the third phase of the election," she said.

The petitioner claimed the Indian National Congress has moved over 40 representations to the Election Commission since the proclamation of the Model Code of Conduct.

But there have been inactions for more than three weeks with regard to superintendence, direction and conduct of General Elections, 2019.

"Inaction, and omissions by the EC, despite being the Constitutional watchdog for ensuring free and fair elections, has become a tool in the hands of the dispensation to facilitate the violation of the provisions of the Constitution, the provisions of the Act and the Rules," she contended.

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