SC takes note of EC action against politicians who violated poll code, says no further order needed

The Supreme Court on Tuesday took note of the action taken by Election Commission (EC) against politicians who made statements violating Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and observed that no further order is needed as of now.

“It seems Election Commission has woken up to its power and taken action against politicians,” observed SC. However, the matter is pending with the petitioner at liberty to move the court in case of issues in future.

On Monday, the apex court had expressed displeasure as the EC had not taken quick action against politicians–BSP supremo Mayawati and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath– for communal and hate speeches during the Lok Sabha campaigning. The SC had decided to examine the ambit of its power following submission that it was “toothless”.

EC had swung into action after the court’s observations and “strongly condemned” the two leaders for their communal remarks and barred them from campaigning. While Adityanath was barred for 72 hours, Mayawati has been barred for 48 hours. The two have also been “censured” by the poll panel.

A bench headed by Chief Justice (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi had taken the cases of alleged communal speeches of Mayawati and CM Adityanath and asked about the action taken so far against them while deciding to examine the statutory powers of the poll panel to deal with the violation of the model code of conduct (MCC).

The EC counsel had asserted that the EC can issue notice and seek reply but we cannot de-recognise a party or disqualify a candidate. It further added that it can only issue advisories and in case of a repeat offence, register a complaint.

Reacting sharply, the bench had said, “So you are basically saying you are toothless and powerless against hate speeches.” It then said that besides sending a notice, an advisory and a criminal case can be filed only against such a leader.

The top court then decided to summon a representative of the EC at 10.30 AM on Tuesday to examine the contention that the poll panel has limited legal powers to deal with hate speeches of politicians during electioneering.

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