SC declines to examine EC's clean chits to Modi, Shah

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Dev, said the poll panel had given unreasoned orders in dismissing the complaints against Modi and Shah. PTI File photo

The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to go into merits of the Election Commission's clean chits to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for making "hate speeches" during rallies allegedly in violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

"The Election Commission has rightly or wrongly passed the orders on complaints...Go and challenge it, if you are still aggrieved," a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta told senior advocate A M Singhvi.

The top court rejected a plea by Congress MP Sushmita Dev, who first alleged inaction by the poll watchdog but subsequently questioned it for passing non-speaking and unreasoned orders on complaints filed by the party.

The court termed her writ petition as infructuous, by observing "We don't see how we can go through the orders without specific challenge."

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the poll panel, submitted that the EC has already passed its orders. He also said the actions have been communicated to the complainant, Randeep Singh Surjewala.

He also raised objections to the additional affidavit filed by the petitioner on Tuesday, in an attempt to widen the scope of the matter. She has sought to bring into the court's notice Modi's remark against former PM Rajiv Gandhi as 'bhrashtachari number 1' (the most corrupt).

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Dev, contended the non-speaking orders were passed on the complaints.

The bench, however, pointed out those orders can only be challenged separately.

He said the additional affidavit was filed on the court's order, also showing a delay in deciding the complaints.

"You should have filed independent Article 32 (writ) petitions. There are some norms that we follow. In a half a day, you could have filed writ petition," the bench told Singhvi.

The court also granted liberty to the petitioner to file a fresh plea challenging the merit of the orders by the poll watchdog.

Dev, Silchar MP, had claimed the speeches by Modi and Shah were covered as "corrupt practices" under Section 123 of the Representation of People Act, 1951 and even amounted to an offence under Section 153 A of the IPC. In cases of complaints against Modi for Wardha speech, there was an inexplicable delay of 25 days, for Latur speech after 19 days and against Shah's statement at Nagpur, the order was passed after 18 days. No reasoned and speaking orders were passed, she complained.
 

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