As web-based media sites publish a woman's allegations of sexual harassment against CJI Ranjan Gogoi, the Supreme Court Secretariat denies all charges and Justice Gogoi recuses himself from passing orders. He says it is a larger conspiracy to destabilize the judiciary

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  • BCCI ombudsman fines Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul Rs 20 lakhs each for misogynistic comments on the chat show Koffee With Karan
  • Buzz around BJP fielding Sunny Deol from Amritsar as Amit Shah meets the actor
  • EC bans web series on Modi and asks the channel to take down all content
  • #MeToo reaches Supreme Court. Former junior research assistant levels sexual harassment charges against CJI Ranjan Gogoi
  • In West Bengal, official in charge of EVMs goes missing but EC says it is for personal reasons
  • Mulayam and Mayawati share the stage at Mainpuri to bury 24-year old enmity
  • After nation-wide outrage, Pragya apologizes and says Karkare was a martyr who was killed by enemy bullets
  • BJP says Pragya's statement are her personal views
  • Pragya Thakur, Malegaon blasts accused and BJP candidate from Bhopal, says police officer Hemant Karkare of anti-terror squad, tortured her in jail and was killed in the 26/11 operations due to her "curse"
  • PM Modi defends choice of Pragya Thakur as BJP's contestant from Bhopal
  • India suspends trade across the Line of Control with Pakistan
  • PM Modi says Pak PM Imran Khan tried to influence Indian elections with "reverse swing" by making comments favouring him
  • 66% voting recorded in phase 2. sporadic violence reported from many places, especially West Bengal
  • Election Commission bans chowkidar chor hai campaign in MP
  • BJP workers' son commits suicide by hanging from a tree in West Bengal
model code of conduct
Why Have A Model Code Of Conduct That Does Not Have Legal Sanctity?

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

There can be only two scenarios for Yogi Adityanath calling the Indian Army “Modiji ki sena”. Either he broke the model code of conduct (MCC) or he didn’t. Once the Election Commission decided that he did break the MCC and it was not satisfied with the reply he gave to its show cause notice, why did it let him off with just a rap on the knuckles by warning him and asking him to desist from making such comments in future?

Ideally, the EC should have handed him a punishment of not being able to address election rallies anywhere in India for a period of seven days (or any other length of time it thought best). But it seems that it is not within the powers of the EC to punish someone from breaking the MCC. Then what is the use of having the MCC? It also makes the EC a toothless body in these matters.

The EC has warned Yogi Adityanath for using the army for political purposes and has asked to be cautious in the future. Maybe he will adhere by the EC diktat in this particular matter. But what will stop him for making another such outrageous statement picking on any other national institution? Further, emboldened by lack of punishment, others will now join the bandwagon and make even more outrageous comments. Unless legal sanctity is granted to the MCC, politicians will continue to break it with impunity. The best way to punish those who break it is to silence them for some time.

If India really wants to have free and fair elections based on a model code of conduct, all political parties must join hands to provide legal sanctity to the MCC by spelling out acceptable and unacceptable behavior and providing punishment for each class of unacceptable behavior by enacting a law for the same. The EC must be made the sole arbiter for the same. Until that is done, we may very well pat ourselves on the back and say that we are a civilized society to have the MCC, but we are fooling none but ourselves.

But with the EC having gone on record to say that it is not possible to make the MCC legally enforceable, there is little chance of that happening despite a parliamentary standing committee having recommended the same in 2013. The EC has said in the past that “bringing the MCC on the statute books will only be counter-productive.” If that is the case, then we might drop the MCC altogether and let the elections be more free for all than they already are.

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