SC notice to EC on plea for action against Modi, Shah

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Election Commission on a plea by Congress MP Sushmita Dev, contending inaction by the poll panel on several complaints made against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah for violating the Model Code of Conduct.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph sought the Election Commission's reply in the matter and put it for consideration on Thursday.

The court, however, said it would be open for the EC to pass its orders.

Dev, through her petition, sought a direction to the EC to act on complaints filed against Modi and Shah for "egregious" statements made in violation of the model code of conduct.

She 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”.

On Tuesday, senior advocate A M Singhvi pointed out that the first complaint was filed on April 1 but no action was taken.

In her plea, Dev, 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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