New Delhi, Jan 11, 2017: In the wake of forthcoming assembly polls in five states, the Election Commission on Tuesday warned political parties that it will undertake “stern action” against violation of the model code of conduct and said it will not remain a “mute spectator”.
In a letter addressed to office bearers of political parties, the poll panel reminded the parties that the model code of conduct, that came into force on January 4 when elections in five states were announced, restricts leaders from making communal statements.
“… political parties and their leaders should desist from making statements to the effect of creating disharmony between different sections of society on the basis of religion as the same disturb the peace and tranquillity of the society which is absolutely essential for the free and peaceful conduct of elections,” the letter said.
It also referred to Supreme Court judgments on the issue.
“The Commission will not remain the silent spectator if the provisions of the law of MCC (model code of conduct) are violated and no one can do it with impunity. The Commission will take stern actions for any violation of all powers available.”
“All may please note it and issue the suitable advisory to all concerned,” it added.
In a historic verdict, the SC has ruled that seeking votes on the basis of religion, caste, community and language is illegal and can amount to corrupt practices under electoral law.
The court held that the provisions of the R P Act, which say that seeking a vote by a candidate in the name of “his” religion, caste, race and language in the election law, included candidates, his agents and voters also.
“An appeal in the name of religion, race, caste, community or language is impermissible under the R P Act, 1951 and would constitute a corrupt practice sufficient to annul the election in which such an appeal was made regardless whether the appeal was in the name of the candidate’s religion or the religion of the election agent or that of the opponent or that of the voter’s,” the apex court order had said.
Between February 4 and March 8, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur are going for Assembly polls and the Model Code of Conduct came into force on January 4 when the EC announced the election schedule.