Congress moves SC as EC ‘fails to act’ against PM, Shah


NEW DELHI | April 30, 2019(IANS):

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear on Tuesday a Congress petition that claimed that the Election Commission had refused to act on a complaint against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for making "hate speeches" and "using" armed forces for "political propaganda" during the Lok Sabha polls.

The Congress alleged that EC's "silence" was an indirect endorsement of the violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, agreed to hear the petition on Tuesday after it was mentioned as "urgent" by senior advocate A.M. Singhvi and advocate Sunil Fernandes.

Singhvi, while making oral mentioning of the petition before the bench, did not take names of the PM and Amit Shah. The bench said: "Why don't you clearly take the names? We will hear you last. You should stop this game of hide and seek."

The bench took note of the petition by Singhvi and asked him why he is hesitating to take names of the BJP leaders. The bench then asked the counsel to say "whatever he wanted to".

The 146-page petition was filed by Sushmita Dev, Congress candidate from Assam's Silchar Lok Sabha constituency. In the petition, the Congress alleged that the rules and regulations inscribed in the Model Code of Conduct were not meant for the Prime Minister and his party President but applicable only on other candidates.

"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," said the petition.

The petition said the delay of more than 3 weeks in decision-making or the absence of a decision were, in fact, decisions in themselves.

The Congress said 40 representations on violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) were brought to the notice of the EC so far, but it did not lead to any action.

"It would not be overstating that inaction by the respondents is a tacit endorsement of the statements and a clean chit to the individuals whose statements and actions are, on the face of it, in violation of the provisions of the Representation of the People Act and the election rules 1961," contended the Congress.

The petition alleged that since March 10, after the notification for the elections was issued, Modi and Shah had "violated" the provisions of the Representation of the People Act and the election rules.

The petition cited the recent temporary ban on campaigning imposed on BSP leader Mayawati for violating the MCC and equated "lack of action" against Modi and Shah. "It demonstrates abdication and indecision and a complete absence of justice in ensuring a level playing field," the petitioner argued.

The petition cited the Prime Minister's rally held on April 23, the day of polling in Gujarat. "…despite being the Constitutional watchdog for ensuring free and fair elections, (the EC) has become a tool in the hands of the dispensation to facilitate violation of the provisions of the Constitution, the provisions of the Act and the rules," the petition alleged.

The petition also cited the PM's comment on Rahul Gandhi's choice of Wayanad as "a seat where the minority is majority".

It also alleged that Modi was "seeking votes" in the names of the CRPF soldiers killed in the terror attack in Pulwama in Kashmir.