The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to hear Congress MP Sushmita Dev’s plea seeking action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah for alleged poll code violations.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta, however, gave Dev the liberty to file a fresh plea against various Election Commission (EC) orders rejecting complaints of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) violations by Modi and Shah during campaigning.
The apex court had on Monday asked the MP from Silchar to bring on record the EC’s orders giving clean chit to the BJP leaders on several complaints of MCC violations over alleged hate speeches and references to armed forces for “political propaganda”.
“Rightly or wrongly”, the poll panel has decided the complaints of MCC violations and these orders warrant filing of a fresh petition, the bench said.
Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the EC, said the persons who had given representations of MCC violations to the poll panel have not come forward to assail them.
Senior advocate AM Singhvi, appearing for Dev, said the poll panel had given unreasoned orders in dismissing the complaints against Modi and Shah.
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, slamming Congress chief Rahul Gandhi where he had also indicated that Kerala constituency had more voters from the minority community.
Dev had on Tuesday claimed before the apex court that the EC has failed to appreciate that the alleged “hate speeches” by PM Modi and Shah are “corrupt practices” and promote the feeling of enmity on religious grounds.
In an affidavit, Dev has said that the poll panel has passed orders in a “cryptic manner without mentioning any reason whatsoever, in stark violation of the law laid down by this court” while disposing of some complaints.
The Congress party has on May 6 lodged a fresh complaint before the poll panel against Modi for his remarks which “maligned and tarnished the image” of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Dev said in the affidavit filed in the court
The apex court had on Monday asked the Congress MP to bring on record EC’s orders giving clean chit to Modi and Shah, after she accused the poll panel of inaction on complaints against the two BJP leaders for allegedly violating the MCC with “hate speeches” and using armed forces for “political propaganda”
Alleging discrimination and arbitrariness on part of the EC, Dev had said that the poll panel has initiated action for violation of model code of conduct against Union minister Maneka Gandhi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, BSP Supremo Mayawati and BJP leader Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur for statements which were similar in “tone, tenor, meaning, purport and intention” to Modi and Shah’s statements.
Dev said that the dissent reported and given by one of the Election Commissioners is not provided along with the order.
“This demonstrates a complete lack of transparency and arbitrariness of the Respondent’s (EC) decision-making process on complaints against Shri Modi and Shri Amit Shah,” the affidavit said.
Dev, in her plea, has alleged inaction by EC in deciding complaints against Modi and Shah and has said that it was “a sign of invidious discrimination” and also “arbitrary, capricious and impermissible” as it was destructive of the integrity of electoral process.
The plea listed out several alleged instances of MCC violations by Modi and Shah in their meetings and referred to as the first violation the speech of Modi at a rally at Wardha, Maharashtra, on April 1 where he had allegedly raised the issue of ‘bhagva aatankwad’ (saffron terror).
Earlier, the apex court had directed the poll panel to decide by May 6, the nine complaints of the Congress party alleging violations of MCC by the Prime Minister and Shah.
The poll panel had said that by May 8, it was likely to consider all the representations of the Congress party and its leader.