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

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  • University vice-chancellors in West Bengal decide not to hold final-year examinations despite UGC prod, will instead go by the state government advised 80-20 formula where 80% will be marked on performance in past semesters and 20% on internal assessments in the final semester
  • The Centre wants the ITI and other top Indian firms to bid for 5G as Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE are not likely to be allowed to participate
  • India and China agree on total disengagement to return to peace ahead of the next round of military talks
  • The Supreme Court allows delivery of summons and notices via WhatsApp and email, but questions remain on proof of actual receipt
  • National Investigation Agency says the proceeds from the Kerala gold smuggling case could have been used for terrorist activities
  • Four Maoists shot dead in Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar
  • Despite localized lockdown, Covid cases continue to rise at an alarming rate in West Bengal. Newer areas brought under containment zones in Kolkata
  • ICSE, ISC results declared, Average scores in the English paper, 20% lower this year than the average in most years, pulls down the aggregate for most candidates
  • IIP contracts by 35% in May. Manufacturing goes down by 39.3%
  • Row erupts over CBSE's decision to reduce the syllabus by 30% this academic year due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Experts say several lessons that the ruling dispensation does not like are being removed
  • Gangster Vikas Dubey's nephew killed in an encounter by UP police who also pick up his key aide Raju Khullar and his son Adarsh
  • MHA sets up an inter-ministerial committee to probe the alleged financial misdeeds of three trusts linked to the Gandhi family
  • Actor Jagdeep, most famous for his Soorma Bhopali act in Sholay, passes away
  • Pakistan says Kulbhushan Jadhav has declined to file a review petition and will stick to his mercy plea. India calls it a farce
  • India to keep a strict vigil to confirm that the Chinese are abiding by the deal on the pullback at the LAC
The plot thickens in Rajasthan. Sachin Pilot removed as deputy chief minister and PCC chief. His loyalists dropped as ministers.
oppn parties
EC Acts To Ban Yogi, Mayawati, Maneka and Azam Khan From Campaigning

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2019-04-15 22:31:35

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.