The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that the Election Commission “seems to have got its powers back”, a day after the poll body temporarily barred Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath and Bahujan Samaj Party President Mayawati from campaigning for violating the Model Code of Conduct.
“You seem to have got your powers back,” a bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna told advocate Aryama Sundaram, who appeared for the poll panel, Bar and Bench reported. He agreed: “We have found our powers.”
The court was hearing a plea seeking directions to the Election Commission to take action against political leaders making appeals for votes on the basis of religion and caste. The court had reprimanded the poll panel on Monday for not acting against such speeches. In response, the Election Commission had said its powers were limited and it could not disqualify candidates.
The court on Tuesday said no further orders need to be passed at this stage.
Earlier on Tuesday, the court had dismissed Mayawati’s objections to the Election Commission’s order barring her from campaigning. The court asked her to file a separate plea against the poll body’s gag order.
At a rally on April 7, Mayawati had urged Muslims not to vote for the Congress to avoid the division of the minority vote. The poll panel’s ban on her campaigning came to effect from 6 am on Tuesday. The ban means Mayawati was not able to address a rally in Agra on Tuesday – the last day before campaigning for the second phase of elections comes to an end. Eight of the 80 Lok Sabha seats of Uttar Pradesh will vote on April 18.