The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Election Commission to rule on all complaints of violation of the Model Code of Conduct against Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah before the next date of hearing on May 6, reported Bar and Bench.
The bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Dipak Gupta and Sanjeev Khanna was hearing a petition from the Congress accusing the poll panel of inaction against Modi and Shah for violating the Model Code of Conduct.
There are 11 complaints against Modi and Shah, reported PTI. During the hearing on Thursday, the Election Commission told the Supreme Court that it has already decided on two complaints. In both the complaints, the poll panel has cleared Modi.
On Wednesday, the Election Commission said Modi did not violate the Model Code of Conduct by appealing to first-time voters to dedicate their votes to security personnel killed in the Pulwama attack in February. On Tuesday, the commission cleared Modi in another instance of alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct. At a rally in Maharashtra’s Wardha district on April 1, the prime minister had claimed that Congress President Rahul Gandhi had been forced to contest the election from Wayanad in Kerala because of its sizeable Muslim population.
In the petition, All India Mahila Congress president and parliamentarian Sushmita Dev had sought expeditious action against the poll panel. She alleged that Modi and Shah had indulged in hate speech and had repeatedly used the armed forces for “political propaganda”. Modi also held a rally after casting his vote in Gujarat on April 23, which was a violation of the code of conduct, Dev’s petition claimed.
- EC says Modi didn’t violate poll code by criticising Rahul Gandhi’s nomination from Wayanad
- Modi’s appeal to first-time voters to dedicate votes to soldiers did not violate poll code, says EC
Dev’s petition had asked the court to direct the Election Commission to decide the complaints filed against Modi and Shah, “without any delay or demur, and in any case not later than 24 hours from the [court’s] order”. A delay of more than three weeks in decision-making, or the absence of a decision, are “in fact decisions in themselves”, the petitioner had argued.
“The lack of decision despite cogent evidence, representations and exhortations to the Election Commission demonstrates abdication and indecision and a complete absence of justice, in ensuring a level playing field,” the petition had said. It had also added that other candidates who have breached electoral laws so far have had directions passed against them, including temporary bans from campaigning. However, the poll panel has been “guarded and oblivious” to the complaints and evidence given by the Congress against Modi and Shah, the plea said.
“The slow response of the ECI in this regard is also contended to be a tacit endorsement of Modi’s and Shah’s conduct, in effect giving them a clean chit despite MCC [Model Code of Conduct] violations,” the petition had said.