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Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and it’s role in poll fray

Topic: Powers, functions and responsibilities of various constitutional bodies

Model Code of Conduct (MCC)  are a set of guidelines which are to be followed by political parties, leaders, election candidates, government machinery and officials, in the run-up to the elections to ensure fair and free Elections. The MCC comes into force when the Chief Election Commissioner announces the schedule of the elections. It will be in force till the election process is complete.

This is in keeping with Article 324 of the Constitution, which gives the Election Commission the power to supervise elections to the Parliament and state legislatures.

How MCC has evolved?

How MCC has evolved

Provisions of MCC which ensures a level playing field:

1. General Conduct
• No party or candidate shall include in any activity which may create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic.
• Criticism of other political parties, when made, shall be confined to their policies and programme, past record and work.
• Mosques, Churches, Temples or other places of worship shall not be used as forum for election propaganda.
• All parties and candidates shall avoid all activities which are “corrupt practices” such as bribing of voters, intimidation of voters.
• Organizing demonstrations or picketing before the houses of individuals by way of protesting against their opinions or activities shall not be resorted to under any circumstances.
2. Meetings
• The party or candidate shall inform the local police authorities of the venue and time any proposed meeting so as to enable the police to make necessary arrangements for controlling traffic and maintaining peace and order.
• If permission or license is to be obtained for the use of loudspeakers or any other the party or candidate shall apply to the authority concerned well in advance and obtain such permission or license
3. Procession
• The organizers shall give advance intimation to the local police authorities of the programme so as to enable the latter to make necessary arrangement.
• If two or more political parties or candidates propose to take processions over the same route at about the same time, the organizers shall decide upon the measures to be taken to see that the processions do not clash or cause hindrance to traffic with the assistance of the local police.
• The carrying of effigies purporting to represent member of other political parties or their leaders, burning such effigies in public and such other forms demonstration shall not be done by any political party or candidate.
4. Polling Day
• All Political parties and candidates shall co-operate with the officers on election duty to ensure peaceful polling and complete freedom to the voters to exercise their franchise without being subjected to any annoyance or obstruction.
• They shall not display any posters, flags, symbols or any other propaganda material.
5. Pooling Booth
• Excepting the voters, no one without a valid pass from the Election Commission shall enter the polling booths
6. Observers
• The Election Commission is appointing Observers. If the candidates or their agents have any specific complaint or problem regarding the conduct of elections they may bring the same to the notice of the Observer.
7. Party in Power
• The Ministers shall not combine their official visit with election work and shall not make use of official machinery during the electioneering work.
• Issue of advertisement at the cost of public exchequer in the newspapers and other media shall be prohibited
• From the time elections are announced by Commission, Ministers and other authorities shall not announce any financial grants in any form or promises thereof.
8. Guidelines on Election Manifestos
• The election manifesto shall be consistent with the letter and spirit of other provisions of Model Code of Conduct.
• Political parties should avoid making those promises which are likely to exert undue influence on the voters in exercising their franchise

If MCC is violated?

  1. If a political party, a candidate or a government official is found violating  the rules prescribed under the MCC ,the citizens can apprise the Election Commission of India (ECI). The ECI will deliberate on the issue and can take a range of actions: Impose a fine, file an FIR that leads to imprisonment or even cancel the polls in that constituency.
  2. Citizens can complain about the violations using the cVIGIL mobile app introduced by the ECI.

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