SC asks Cong MP to bring on record EC orders giving clean chit to PM Modi, Amit Shah

Monday, 6 May 2019

The Silchar MP said she has been constrained to move to the apex court to seek direction to the EC "to expeditiously take action on multiple representations/ complaints pending before the ECI" against Modi and Shah.

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked Congress MP Sushmita Dev to bring on record EC's orders giving clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah on several complaints of MCC violations over their alleged hate speeches and using armed forces for "political propaganda".

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta fixed for hearing on May 8 the plea of Dev, Lok Sabha MP from Silchar in Assam as also President of All India Mahila Congress, and asked her to file the Election Commission's recent orders absolving the two top BJP leaders of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) violations.

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Dev, said that the poll panel has passed "unreasoned" orders while dismissing complaints of MCC violations against Modi and Shah and moreover, there have been reports of dissent by one of the Election Commissioners in passing some of the decisions.

Most of the decisions, which went in favour of the top BJP leaders, have not been unanimous and Congress party and its complainant leader has neither been supplied with the copies of these orders nor the grounds for them have been disclosed, he said.

The poll panel, which took actions against other leaders for using similar phraseology, did not act against the Prime Minister and Shah, he said.

The apex court should consider framing guidelines to deal with violations of MCC in a time-bound manner as the delay denies the level-playing field to all political parties, Singhvi said, adding that the level playing field for all is part of basic structure of the Constitution.

Dev, in her plea, has alleged inaction by EC in deciding complaints against Modi and Shah and has said that it was "a sign of invidious discrimination" as also "arbitrary, capricious and impermissible" as it was destructive of the integrity of electoral process.

The plea listed out several alleged instances of MCC violations by Modi and Shah in their meetings and referred to as the first violation the speech of Modi at a rally at Wardha, Maharashtra, on April 1 where he had allegedly raised the issue of 'bhagva aatankwad' (saffron terror).

Earlier, the apex court had directed the poll panel to decide by May 6, the nine complaints of the Congress party alleging violations of MCC by the Prime Minister and Shah.

EC had told that it has already decided two out of the 11 complaints which were filed by the Congress party against Modi and Shah.

The poll panel had said that by May 8, it was likely to consider all the representations of the Congress party and its leader.

The EC has given clean chit to Modi for two of his speeches -- one in Latur last month urging first time voters to dedicate their votes in the name of Balakot air strike heroes and soldiers killed in the Pulwama attack, and the other in Wardha on April 1, slamming Congress chief Rahul Gandhi where he had also indicated that Kerala constituency had more voters from the minority community.

It has been alleged that BJP leaders have been violating model code of conduct during last four weeks and the EC has not taken any decisions on as many as 40 complaints of Congress party.

"Since March 10, that is the date on which General Elections, were notified, the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah, specifically in sensitive areas and states, have ex-facie violated the provisions of the Representation of People's Act and the Conduct of Election Rules and the process, thereof," the plea claimed.

"It is in public domain that they have indulged in hate speeches, repeatedly used the armed forces for political propaganda, despite a clear prohibition on the same by the EC," Dev alleged.

The Silchar MP said she has been constrained to move to the apex court to seek direction to the EC "to expeditiously take action on multiple representations/ complaints pending before the ECI" against Modi and Shah.

Alleging inaction on the part of EC, the plea said it has not been taking actions "despite cogent evidence" and exhortations to the EC demonstrated "abdication and indecision and a complete absence of justice, in ensuring a level playing field in ensuing general elections".

"The inactions, omissions and commissions by the EC are in complete and direct violation of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution and which are impeding free, fair and unbiased General Elections," the plea has said.

It also referred to the EC's circulars prohibiting parties and candidates from using pictures of armed forces for their political propaganda and using religions.

The plea said that under the Constitution, the poll panel is the "watchdog of free and fair elections and is duty-bound to circumvent the pressure and ascertain that ensuing elections are free from any impediments in order to uphold the democratic sanctity and fundamental rights of the voter". 

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