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  • Raghav Sand

Indian Elections and Model Code of Conduct

Credit of giving idea of a model code for political parties should go to State of Kerala. It adopted a code of conduct for general election to the State Legislative Assembly in February 1960. Election Commission (EC) prepared a document on minimum standard of conduct in 1968-69 and placed the same before the political parties in the meetings held in each state.

Consolidated Code Published in 2019

The Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sunil Arora, described the code as “Moral fabric of our successful electoral odyssey”. His colleague Shri Sushil Chandra, in the capacity of being Election Commissioner, laid out the purpose of the code. Shri Chandra remarked that, “It will not only serve as a reference book for all the election officials, political parties and contesting candidates, but also demystify the functioning of code of conduct for the electors, in general.”

Date of Enforcement

Model Code of Conduct comes into operation right from the time and day, the election schedule is announced by EC.

Legal Sanctity

Model Code provisions have enabling laws contained in the Indian Penal Code and the Representation of the People Act, 1951. The following malpractices mentioned in Model Code are listed as ‘corrupt practices’ and ‘electoral offences’.

  1. Creating mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic

  2. Appeal to caste or communal feeling for securing votes

  3. Bribery to voters

  4. Intimidation of voters

  5. Impersonation of voters

  6. Holding of public meetings during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for the close of the poll

  7. Serving or distributing liquor on polling day and during the forty eight hours preceding it

Extent of Application

At the time of a general election to the House of the People (Lok Sabha) it applies throughout India. For state legislative assembly, Model Code applies throughout the concerned state.

Duration of Application

Model Code remains in operation till completion of election process as per the election notification.

ECI Clarification

  1. Reserve Bank of India may continue to take decisions unhindered on monetary policy issues.

  2. Ministry of Finance and other ministries will need to take prior approval of the EC on any policy announcements, fiscal measures, taxation related issues and such other financial relief.

Guidelines for Advertisements

Advertisements shall not be issued in electronic and print media highlighting the achievements of the Govt. at the cost of public exchequer. If any advertisement has already been released for telecast/broadcast or publication in the print media, then it must be ensured that telecast/broadcast of such ads on electronic media is stopped forthwith.

Use of Loudspeakers

No public address system or loudspeaker or any sound amplifier shall be used at night between 10.00 p.m. and 6.00 a.m. Loudspeakers fitted on vehicles of any kind or in any other manner whatsoever shall not be permitted to be used during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for the conclusion of the poll in any polling area.

Election Manifesto

  1. The election manifesto shall not contain anything unacceptable to the ideals and principles enshrined in the Constitution

  2. The Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined in the Constitution enjoin upon the State to frame various welfare measures for the citizens and therefore there can be no objection to the promise of such welfare in election manifesto.

  3. Trust of voters should be sought only on those promises which are possible to be fulfilled.

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