EC database to track repeat poll code violators
The idea essentially is to have a comprehensive list of violators so as to track them more closely during polls.
The Election Commission is planning to create a database of politicians who are repeat offenders when it comes to violating the electoral Model Code of Conduct during polls. The poll watchdog is also mulling to bring “graded” penalties for those violating the model code.
The idea essentially is to have a comprehensive list of violators so as to track them more closely during polls. This database is also expected to help the EC decide upon the kind of penalty it may want to impose on a politician going by his past track record-the frequency of violations and the responses to EC notices.
“Having such a database will enable us to decide the quantum and nature of penalty that may need to be imposed on a candidate. We are also looking at having a graded system of penalties wherein the quantum will keep on rising with every fresh violation,” a top EC source said.
So, while a first violation of the code may just attract a warning, a subsequent violation may lead to censure, and further violations may lead to a candidate’s campaign being stopped.
During the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the EC had come down heavily on inflammatory speeches by BJP leader Amit Shah and SP leader Azam Khan by bringing their campaigns to a halt. This example is increasingly been cited to drive home the point that the EC can act strictly if it wants to.
Newly-appointed Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi is learnt to have already asked EC officials to prepare a comprehensive database of politicians who have been repeat offenders of the model code.
“During polls, we see a lot of complaints relating to the violation of the model code of conduct. In many complaints, sections of the IPC are also invoked in addition to those of the Representation of People’s Act. While the EC’s notices for such violations are generally responded to and leads to further action in the form of the EC issuing a ‘censure’ or ‘disapproval’, we don’t get to know what happens to the cases registered against the violators under the IPC. A database like this will help us keep a constant track on violators,” an EC official said.
Sources also said the EC is not too keen to push for a statutory backing for the model code, something that has often been suggested as a measure that can make it more effective.
Source:: Indian Express