The Supreme Court on Monday asked Congress MP Sushmita Dev to bring on record the Election Commission’s orders giving clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah on complaints of Model Code violations.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta has now listed the plea of Dev, a Congress MP from Silchar Lok Sabha seat in Assam, for hearing on May 8.
Senior advocate AM Singhvi, appearing for Dev, alleged that the poll panel has passed unreasoned orders dismissing the complaints of the Congress party on violations of MCC (Model Code of Conduct) by the prime minister and Shah who are accused of using armed forces in their campaign.
The bench asked the lawmaker to file an additional affidavit bringing on records the orders passed by EC on the complaints of MCC violations by the top two BJP leaders.
The EC has given clean chit to Modi for two of his speeches — one in Latur last month urging first time voters to dedicate their votes in the name of Balakot air strike heroes and soldiers killed in the Pulwama attack, and the other in Wardha on April 1, where he indicated that Wayanad constituency had more voters from the minority community.
The apex court had earlier directed the EC to decide by May 6, nine complaints of the Congress party alleging violations of MCC by Modi and Shah.
In her plea, Dev has alleged MCC violations by Modi and Shah over their alleged hate speeches and using armed forces for “political propaganda”.
She has alleged that “inaction” by the poll panel on complaints against top BJP leaders was “a sign of invidious discrimination” as also “arbitrary, capricious and impermissible” as it was destructive of the integrity of the electoral process.
It has been alleged that BJP leaders have been violating the model code of conduct during the last four weeks and the EC has not taken any decisions on as many as 40 complaints of Congress party.
“Since March 10, that is the date on which General Elections, were notified, the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah, specifically in sensitive areas and states, have ex-facie violated the provisions of the Representation of People’s Act and the Conduct of Election Rules and the process, thereof,” the plea has claimed.
“It is in public domain that they have indulged in hate speeches, repeatedly used the armed forces for political propaganda, despite a clear prohibition on the same by the EC,” Dev has alleged.
She has said that she has been constrained to move to the apex court to seek direction to the EC “to expeditiously take action on multiple representations/ complaints pending before the ECI” against Modi and Shah.
Alleging inaction on the part of EC, the plea said it has not been taking actions “despite cogent evidence” and exhortations to the EC demonstrated “abdication and indecision and a complete absence of justice, in ensuring a level playing field in ensuing general elections”.
“The inactions, omissions and commissions by the EC are in complete and direct violation of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution and which are impeding free, fair and unbiased General Elections,” the plea has said.
It has also referred to the EC’s circulars prohibiting parties and candidates from using pictures of armed forces for their political propaganda and using religions.
The plea has said that under the Constitution, the poll panel is the “watchdog of free and fair elections and is duty-bound to circumvent the pressure and ascertain that ensuing elections are free from any impediments in order to uphold the democratic sanctity and fundamental rights of the voter”.