A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court had made a decision to examine the scope of the powers of the Election Commission of India (ECI) to deal with cases relating to the violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and hate speeches by politicians. Earlier, the Election Commission had submitted that it could only issue notices, advisories and at the most lodge a criminal complaint against those violating the MCC. The panel consists of present Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna.
The Election Commission had submitted that it had no powers to disqualify candidates violating the MCC and making hate speech during the election period.
The verdict is to be decided by tomorrow, 16th of April. The court has also directed the ECI to depute a suitable officer to be present in the Court for assisting it in the matter. This particular turn of events has come on a petition seeking action against political party representatives and spokespersons who make speeches or remarks using religious or caste-based content. The petition comes after the recent controversy of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Bahujan Samajwadi Party supremo Mayawati appealing to the voters to vote on the basis of religion. The Court referred to the Adityanath-Mayawati case while making remarks during the hearing held today.
Senior advocate Sanjay Hedge is appearing for petitioner Harpreet Mansukhani submitted that under Article 324 of the Constitution of India, the Election Commission of India had wide powers and that proposition had found support in several decisions of the Supreme Court.
The supreme court has also barred both Yogi Adityanath from campaigning for the next three days for his communal comments by the Election Commission. The EC had been facing criticism from opposition parties that it is soft on leaders of the ruling party when they violate the Model Code of Conduct.
The court also barred Mayawati from campaigning for the next 48 hours, for her provocative speech in Deoband.