Ex-MP CM Kamal Nath moves SC against EC's decision

Ex-Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath moves Supreme Court against EC's decision

With regard to his remark against the woman BJP leader, he said that he had already issued a clarification and expressed regret

 Former Chief Minister and Madhya Pradesh Congress President Kamal Nath. Credit: PTI

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath approached the Supreme Court challenging a decision by the Election Commission to revoke his name from the list of "star campaigners" of the Congress party over repeated violations of the Model Code of Conduct.

Senior Congress leader's remark calling BJP Emarti Devi as "item" has triggered a controversy.

In a petition filed through advocate Varun K Chopra, Kamal Nath asked the top court to quash the October 30 order by the EC and frame guidelines for speeches during campaigning by star campaigners keeping in mind fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression and concept of democratic elections.

The Model Code of Conduct has been enforced in 12 districts of Madhya Pradesh since September with the announcement of the schedule for by-elections to 28 seats in the state Legislative Assembly on November 3.

He maintained that Section 77(1) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 read with Guidelines for Star Campaigners issued by the EC from time to time makes the selection of the revocation of ‘Star campaigners’ the sole prerogative of the political party. However, he claimed, the poll panel passed a "completely unreasoned" order against him without any notice and application of mind. This was also violative of principles of natural justice and fair play, he said.

"For a vibrant democracy and for the conduct of free and fair elections, it is necessary that voters, candidates, campaigners, and workers are not unduly restrained from exercising their freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1) of the Constitution," he said.

Giving out instances of the use of objectionable remarks against him by the BJP leaders, Kamal Nath claimed the EC has taken no equivalent actions against them despite the fact that those were in gross violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

With regard to his remark against the woman BJP leader, he said that he had already issued a clarification and expressed regret. The President of Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee further maintained that there was no malice or intent to disrespect on his part.