EC Clean Chit to PM’s Controversial Speeches Not Unanimous: Report

It is not common that a decision by the EC is not unanimous, but taken by virtue of majority.

2 min read
EC Clean Chit to PM’s Controversial Speeches Not Unanimous: Report

After the Election Commission (EC) gave clean chits to two of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speeches which came under their scanner, it has now come to light that the poll panel's decision was reportedly not a unanimous one.

A report by The Indian Express suggests that in both the cases one of the Commissioners had dissented, and the decision went in favour of the PM by a 2-1 majority.

The Congress had lodged complaints with the EC against these speeches, alleging that they amounted to violation of Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

The following speeches by Modi were under question:

  • On 1 April, at a rally in Wardha, that the Congress had been forced to contest from places dominated by the minority community, referring to Rahul Gandhi’s decision to fight from Wayanad.
  • On 9 April, in Latur, he asked first-time voters to dedicate their vote to those who carried out the air strike in Balakot, and sought a report from poll officials in Maharashtra.

The EC, however, was unanimous in its decision of finding no violation of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in another speech by Modi where he had said that India's nuclear weapons are 'not kept for Diwali', the report said.

The report further suggests that it is a rather rare phenomenon that the EC takes its decisions by virtue of majority as the Section 10 of The Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991 says that all business of the EC “shall, as far as possible, be transacted unanimously”.

On Tuesday, the EC comprising of Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra gave clean chit to the Wardha speech, where Modi commented upon Rahul Gandhi's candidature from Wayanad. The EC mandated that his remark had not violated Sections 123 (3A) and 125 of the Representation of the People Act, which deals with promotion of “feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of the citizens of India on grounds of religion, race, caste, community or language” by a candidate.

Then, on Wednesday, the poll panel cleared the Latur speech too. In this case in fact, the EC's decision went against the Osmanabad District Electoral Officer (DEO) who had found the PM’s speech to be “inconsistent” with the EC’s instructions prohibiting the use of armed forces for political gains.

(With inputs from The Indian Express)

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