Are you ‘toothless’ against errant politicians, answer us: SC to Election Commission

New Delhi: Irked over the Election Commission’s inaction against errant politicians spewing venom and engaging in hate speech, breaching the code conduct, the Apex Court slammed EC for being ‘toothless’ and directed it to immediately take action against political leaders who are engaging in hate speeches yesterday.

Following SC’s order, the civic body has imposed a campaign ban on UP CM Yogi Adityanath, BSP chief Mayawati, Union minister Maneka Gandhi and SP leader Azam Khan and other leaders too TOI reports.

While responding to the apex court’s notice on a PIL field by Harpreet Mansukhani who sought strict action against the breach of model of code of conduct by the politicians, the EC told SC: “Power of EC in cases of violation of the model code of conduct by making hate speeches on grounds of religion & caste is circumscribed to issuing notice and upon consideration of the reply to issue advisories.”

The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna asked the EC what action did the commission initiate against Mayawati for appealing to Muslim voters and against Adityanath for his “Ali… Bajrang Bali” remark.

Irked over EC’s inaction the court said whether “it was toothless to take any action and whether it would only issue advisories to erring politicians” followed by EC’s responses that notices have been served against both the leaders but they have not yet filed any replies.

When SC asked the EC what power does the commission in such cases the respondent said the commission has no powers to de-register or disqualify any party violating the code of conduct and that only an Fir can be filed with the Police against the violators.

Hearing the response, SC jabbed the commission and referred it to the stringent provisions of the Representation of the People Act under Sections 123(3) and 125, which if used, could see a candidate getting disqualified if he or his election agent appealed to voters in the name of religion or made any hate speech.

Dissatisfied with EC’s inaction and unusually soft approach taken against these errant politicians, the bench said, asked the a representative of the commission body to be present before the court.

However the commission has now submitted an action-taken report on various errant politicians for alleged breach of model code but said Adityanath was asked to be careful in future after he made the ‘Modiji ki sena’ remark.