Violations of model code of conduct: SC takes note

The Supreme Court on Monday decided to examine actions initiated against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, BSP chief Mayawati and others for violating the model code of conduct in their poll speeches as the poll panel contended it was "toothless" beyond lodging criminal complaints against the violators for repeated breach.

The Supreme Court on Monday decided to examine actions initiated against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, BSP chief Mayawati and others for violating the model code of conduct in their poll speeches as the poll panel contended it was "toothless" beyond lodging criminal complaints against the violators for repeated breach.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna put the matter for consideration on Tuesday.

"Since the EC says its power is circumscribed. It got no power...we would like to examine the matter tomorrow at 10.30 am," the bench said. 

Taking up a petition filed by NRI Harpreet Mansukhani, the bench sought to know from advocate Amit Sharma, appearing for the EC, as to what actions were taken against the politicians for alleged hate speeches or statements seeking votes on the basis of religion, castes etc.

"This is something you are duty bound to do. You have to be prompt, you have to act immediately. You can't drag it," the bench told the EC's counsel.

The counsel said in cases of complaints, we have to issue notice and seek reply from violators of the model code of conduct.

"We ask them to be careful and issue advisory," he said.

"We can't derecognise or disqualify them. We issue notice, followed by advisory on repeated violations, and finally lodge a complaint," Sharma said.

Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, appearing for the petitioner, contended that the EC has got vast repository of power under Article 324 of the Constitution.

The bench sought to know what action it took against Adityanath on his statement on 'Modiji ki Sena' (Modi's Army). The EC's counsel said the matter was closed after his explanation. In other two matters, the court was informed both Mayawati and Adityanath had to respond by April 12 but they did not file their response.

Mayawati had in one of her rallies asked the Muslims to vote in a particular manner. Adityanath, on the other hand, had referred to 'Ali and Bajranbali'.

Notably, former UP Minister and Samajwadi Party's Rampur candidate Azam Khan had also made objectionable comments against his rival from BJP Jaya Prada.

The petitioner here sought strict actions against the political parties if their spokespersons or leaders delivered speeches and made remarks in media pertaining to the religion and caste.

He sought a direction to constitute a committee under the chairmanship of retired Supreme Court judge to have close watch on entire election process and the Election Commission.

An appeal in the name of religion, race, caste, community or language by the spokespersons and
media representatives of the political parties on TV debate shows are normal which affect the elections of whole country. The Election Commission has never taken any actions against the political parties, though it is impermissible under the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and would constitute a corrupt practice, the petitioner contended.

The petitioner also demanded that strict action must be taken against media houses which used caste and religion in their debate shows

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Violations of model code of conduct: SC takes note

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