Delhi High Court Declines Micromanaging Election Commission, Highlights Constitutional Status

Mainstream
11-May-2024
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During a hearing on Friday, the Delhi High Court asserted its inability to micromanage the Election Commission of India (ECI), recognizing it as a constitutional body. Justice Sachin Datta made this remark in response to a petition seeking the registration of a First Information Report (FIR) against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for alleged communal speeches during the Lok Sabha elections campaign.

Advocate Nizam Pasha, representing the petitioners, argued for uniform action by the ECI irrespective of the identity of the individual making hate speeches. However, Advocate Suruchi Suri, appearing for the ECI, informed the court that the commission had issued notices on the complaints received and expected a response from the ruling party by May 15, after which appropriate action would be taken in accordance with the law.

The Court scheduled a further hearing on Monday, May 13, and requested Pasha to submit relevant material for consideration.

The plea, filed by Shaheen Abdulla, Amitabha Pande, and Deb Mukharji, referenced Prime Minister Modi's speeches in Banswara, Rajasthan, and Sagar, Madhya Pradesh, where he allegedly made divisive remarks targeting certain communities. It criticized the ECI for what it deemed as inaction despite numerous complaints.

The petition argued that the ECI's failure to act against hate speech violates its constitutional duty and undermines the purpose of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), which aims to maintain communal harmony during elections. It cited omissions and commissions by the ECI as violations of constitutional articles and impediments to free and fair elections.

Moreover, the petition highlighted the disparity in the ECI's actions, noting that while notices were issued to several leaders for similar offenses, no action was taken against Prime Minister Modi. It called for action against all leaders, including BJP President JP Nadda and Union Minister Anurag Thakur, who were accused of delivering communal speeches during the election campaign.

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News writer, MIT ADT University