‘Power of Election Commission needs to be examined’

Election Commission

New Delhi Supreme Court will examine the scope of powers of the Election Commission on Tuesday.

The apex court agreed to examine statements made by political leaders violative of the Model Code of Conduct after the Election Commission admitted it was “toothless” and “powerless” vis-a-vis hate speeches made during the election campaign.

The court will take up the matter on Tuesday, saying it wants to examine the scope of powers of the Election Commission.

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The Election Commission told the court that it can merely issue notice, then an advisory and lodge a criminal complaint in the case of repeated violations.

The counsel for the poll body said it was “toothless” and “powerless” against hate and religious speeches made during the election campaign.

The apex court said then it was appropriate to examine the scope of powers of the poll panel which is also a constitutional body.

Speeches by Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and others were cited as violations of the Model Code of Conduct.

The EC counsel informed the court that it had already sought reply from Mayawati to furnish a reply regarding her election speech seeking votes on the basis of religion. Mayawati was supposed to reply by April 12 but the EC was yet to get it.

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A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked: “What do you propose to do?”

The EC counsel replied that it does not have the power to de-recognise or disqualify the person and it can only send advisories. And if the candidate continues to violate the Model Code of Conduct, then it can file a complaint.

The Supreme Court directed the Election Commission official to be present in court on Tuesday.