oppn parties EC Acts To Ban Yogi, Mayawati, Maneka and Azam Khan From Campaigning

News Snippets

  • S Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, says Pakistan should release and repatriate Kulbhushan Jadhav immediately
  • Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala asks the Speaker to hold the trust vote latest by 1.30 pm today
  • The Government sends a list of 24 questions to mobile app company that runs video app TikTok seeking answers for anti-national and obscene content carried on the platform
  • Sarvana Bhawan founder P Rajagopal, serving a life term for murder, dies in a Chennai hospital
  • SC allows time till July 31 to the Ayodhya mediation panel
  • IT department attaches "benami" plot worth Rs 400cr in Noida. The plot allegedly belongs to BSP leader [email protected]@@s brother and his wife
  • Dawood [email protected]@@s nephew, Md. Rizwan Iqbal, was arrested from Mumbai airport as he was waiting to board a flight to Dubai
  • Trouble brews in Bihar JD(U)-BJP alliance as Bihar police asks special branch officers to keep tabs on RSS activities
  • Trust vote in Karnataka assembly today. With rebel MLAs deciding to stay away after the SC order, the Congress-JD(S) government is likely to fall as it does not have the numbers
  • Amit Shah says the government will identify and deport illegal immigrants from all parts of the country
  • Reports from Pakistan confirm that Hafiz Saeed has been arrested and sent to jail
  • After the SC order, Karnataka Speaker says he will go by the Constitution in deciding on the resignations of the 16 MLAs
  • Rebel MLAs say they will not attend the trust vote on Thursday
  • Supreme Court rules that rebel MLAs cannot be forced to attend the assembly and vote in the floor test
  • Both the Centre and the Assam government have sought re-verification of up to 20% of draft NRC data
International Court of Justice agrees with India, stays Kulbhushan Jadhav's execution. It asks Pakistan to allow consular access to the accused.
oppn parties
EC Acts To Ban Yogi, Mayawati, Maneka and Azam Khan From Campaigning

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.
The Election Commission has finally woken up and flexed its muscles. It has barred Yogi Adityanath and Mayawati from campaigning for 72 hours and 48 hours respectively for making communal remarks in their speeches. It has also put a similar ban on Maneka Gandhi for 48 hours and Azam Khan for 72 hours. In another development, the Supreme Court has issued a notice to Rahul Gandhi to reply why he made the objectionable remarks where he tried to show that the apex court had called Modi a ‘thief’. The EC should also look into what Rahul said and take appropriate action.

These are actions in the right direction. Politicians were crisscrossing the country making hate speeches without any fear. They were secure in the knowledge that since the model code of conduct lacks legal backing, they would not be prosecuted. But shutting them off for a period is also a good punishment as it immediately lowers their prestige among the voters. It may or may not have a sobering effect on the offenders, but it is better than letting them carry on with their vile speeches without a check.

One feels that if a politician is punished once for such an offence, if he or she crosses the line again the EC should ban him or her for the entire duration of the election. That perhaps would act as a better deterrent than progressively increasing the period of the ban. A third chance should not be given to such hate mongers to carry out their divisive agenda.

The Supreme Court has indicated that it will look into the powers of the Election Commission regarding the action it can take against politicians for hate speeches. It has summoned a representative of the EC on Tuesday to come and inform it of the way the commission views its powers. The immediate trigger for taking action on the four politicians was the fear that it might be pulled up by the apex court.

It is a travesty of justice that statutory commissions that have enough powers either do not understand them or are reluctant to use them. They do not even approach the apex court for guidance in such matters. It is often left to the courts to take suo moto action when things get out of hand. It was difficult to understand what was preventing the EC from taking action against erring politicians. It should now make the Supreme Court explain its own powers to it and should act fearlessly against offenders to ensure that the public discourse during elections is not vitiated by a few motor mouths.