What is EC model code of conduct

With the Election Commission of India’s announcement of the complete schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019, the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) came into force on March 10 evening. What is this Model Code of Conduct? What political parties and contesting candidates cannot do? If the code of conduct would be violated do the offense is trialed in a Court? Here are the answers:

Model Code of Conduct

Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India for the conduct of political parties and candidates during elections mainly with respect to speeches, polling day, polling booths, portfolios, election manifestos, processions, and general conduct. It has been designed to avert communal clashes and corrupt practices. MCC ensures that polls are free and fair. According to Article 324 of the Constitution, the EC has the power to monitor the Centre, all the state governments, all the candidates and their respective political parties.

Components of a Model Code of Conduct

MCC deals with provisions such as general conduct, meetings, processions, polling day, polling booths, observers, and election manifestos.

Under General conduct political parties are not allowed to use caste and communal sentiments to lure voters. They are also not allowed to bribe or intimidate voters and most importantly, they cannot criticise them based on unverified reports. However, they can criticise the other candidates based on policies and programmes and their work record.

For meetings, it is mandatory for the political parties to inform the local police about their rallies and public meetings and provide them time to make adequate security arrangements.

Carrying or burning effigies of the opponents is not allowed during the period when the MCC is in force. Again, in case two rival parties plan a road show in the same area, then their routes must not clash.

Candidates and their representatives must not campaign for votes within a distance of 100 metres of the polling booth on the day of voting.

Are the restrictions equally applicable to the ruling party

The ruling party must not advertise at the cost of the public exchequer or use official mass media for publicity on achievements. No Member of Parliament or minister should combine their official visit with campaigning or party work. Ministers and other authorities must not announce any financial grants, or promise any construction of roads, provision of drinking water, and so on. Other parties must be allowed to use public spaces, and it must not be monopolised by those in power.

Can violations of MCC be punished by Courts

If a party violates the directions provided in MCC, they cannot be charged for violating a section of the code as it has no statutory backing. But in extreme conditions, the EC can file a case under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) or the Income Tax Act.

Also read: Elections 2019 To Be Held In 7 Phases Across India, Model Code Of Conduct Comes Into Effect From Today

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