Model Code of Conduct – Election in India

  • MCC is a document that originated and evolved with the consensus of the political parties.
  • The origin of the MCC dates back to the Assembly election in Kerala in 1960
  • Model Code of Conduct (MCC) was agreed to by all the political parties in 1968.
  • Election Commission first effectively put to use the MCC in the year 1991 to ensure fair elections and a level playing field.
  • It comes immediately into effect after announcement of election schedule by commission
  • In case of premature dissolution of assembly, model code of conduct started immediately
  • The MCC is not enforceable by law.  
  • However, certain provisions of the MCC may be enforced through IPC 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and RPA 1951.
 
 

General Conduct

  • No party or candidate shall indulge in any activity which may create tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic.
  • Parties and candidates shall refrain from criticism of private life of the leaders
  • Criticism based on unverified allegations or distortions shall be avoided.
  • No appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes.
  • Mosques, churches, temples or other places of worship shall not be used as forum for election propaganda.
  • Should avoid “corrupt practices” and offenses under the election law like
    • Bribing of voters in any kind
    • Distributing freebies
    • Intimidation of voters
    • Impersonation of voters
    • Canvassing within 100 meters of polling stations
    • Holding public meetings during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for the close of the poll
    • Transport and conveyance of voters to and from polling station.
  • No use of any individual’s land, building, compound wall etc., without their permission
  • Workers of one political party shall not create disturbances at public meetings organized by another political party by putting questions orally or in writing or by distributing leaflets
  • Processions shall not be taken out by one party along places at which meetings are held by another party.
  • Posters issued by one party shall not be removed by workers of another party.
 
 

Meetings

  • Party or candidate shall inform the local police authorities of the venue and time
  • Party or candidate shall apply to the authority in advance for use of loudspeaker
  • Organizers of a meeting shall invariably seek the assistance of the police on duty for dealing with persons disturbing a meeting
 
 

Processions

  • A party or candidate organising a procession shall decide before hand the time and place of the starting of the procession
  • The organisers shall give advance intimation to the local police authorities
  • The organisers shall take steps in advance to arrange for passage of the procession so that there is no block or hindrance to traffic.
  • Burning or carrying of effigies purporting to represent of other political party leaders in public are not allowed
 
 

Polling Day

  • All political parties and candidates shall :
  • Co-operate with the officers on election duty
  • Supply to their authorised workers badges or identity cards.
  • Identity slip supplied by them to voters shall not contain any symbol, name of candidate or party.
  • Not distributing liquor on polling day and during the 24 hours preceding it.
  • Not allow unnecessary crowd to be collected near the camps set up by the political parties and candidates near the polling booths
  • Ensure that the candidate’s camps shall be simple.
  • They shall not display any posters, flags, symbols or any other propaganda material.
  • No eatable shall be served or crowd allowed at the camps.
 
 

Polling Booths

  • Excepting the voters, no one without a valid pass from the Election Commission shall enter the polling booths.
 
 
Observers
  • The Election Commission appoints Observers.
  • Candidates or their agents have any specific complaint, they may bring the same to the notice of the Observer.
 
 

Party in Power

  • The party in power at the Centre or in the state, should not use it’s official position for the purposes of its election campaign
  • Ministers shall not combine their official visit with electioneering work
  • Government transport including official air-crafts, vehicles, machinery and personnel shall not be used during the electioneering work
  • Public places in connection with elections shall not be monopolized
  • Govt. accommodation shall not be monopolized
  • Govt. accommodation or offices can’t use as a campaign office or for holding any public meeting for the purposes of election propaganda.
  • Issue of advertisement at the cost of public exchequer in the newspapers and other media and the misuse of official mass media during the election must be avoided
  • Ministers and other authorities shall not
    • Announce any financial grants or promises thereof
    • Lay foundation stones etc., of projects or schemes of any kind
    • Make any promise of construction of roads, provision of drinking water facilities, etc.
    • Make any ad-hoc appointments in government, public undertakings, etc.
  • Commission shall announce the date of any election not more than 3 weeks prior to the date
  • Ministers of Central or state governments shall not enter any polling station or place of counting except in their capacity as a candidate or voter or authorized agent.
 
 

Guidelines on Election Manifestos

  • Supreme Court in its judgment in 2013 has directed the Election Commission to frame guidelines with regard to election manifestos
  • The promises in the election manifesto cannot be construed ascorrupt practices’ under Section 123 of RP Act,
  • Generally political parties release their election manifesto before the announcement of election date
  • In that scenario, Election Commission will not have the authority to regulate
  • But an exception can be made in this regard as the election manifesto is directly associated with the election process
  • Manifesto shall not contain anything against the Constitution
  • It should maintain the spirit of Model Code of Conduct
  • The Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined in the Constitution enjoin upon the State to frame various welfare measures
  • So, there can be no objection to the promise of welfare measures in election manifestos.
  • Manifestos also reflect the rationale for the promises and broadly indicate the ways to meet the financial requirements for it.
  • Trust of voters should be sought only on those promises which are possible to be fulfilled.
 

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