22 months since 2019 general elections results were announced, no action still on 40% of complaints.

 

New Delhi: More than 40% of the total complaints of violations of election Model Code of Conduct (MCC) lodged with the Election Commission during the 2019 general election have still not been decided by the EC, even as 22 months have passed since the result of the 2019 general elections were announced. This has led to questions being raised about how serious the EC is on tackling the issue of MCC violation.

During the 2019 general elections held between April and May, 504 complaints of MCC violations were taken into cognizance by the Election Commission, out of which decisions on 262 complaints were handed out by the EC, while decision on 160 complaints are still pending before the EC.

In most of the complaints of MCC violation pending before the EC since 2019, the status report of those complaints still shows as “initial inquiry” and the last update on the case was made in May 2019. Since then, no status or inquiry was conducted into these cases by the EC.

Out of the total number of MCC violation cases pending before the EC, 127 out of the 160 cases are from Uttar Pradesh. This is followed by Bihar where around seven cases of MCC violations are pending against different political parties and persons since the 2019 general elections.

The Sunday Guardian has looked into some of those complaints on which the decision of the EC is still pending. For example, a complaint was made to the EC on 24 April 2019 against inflammatory speech given by Jaya Prada in Rampur; an FIR was lodged, however, since then, not much has moved in the case.

In another case, a complaint against Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu was made to the EC for making controversial remarks during the 2019 general elections in Bihar on 15 April, but since then, the status of the complaint remains under “initial scrutiny” by the EC.

Another notable complaint was received by the EC against Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan on 17 April 2019 for “influencing the spirit of hatred towards the administration and making unwarranted comments against the dignity of the post of a public servant”. The decision of the EC in this case also remains pending.

Now with five states going to polls and the MCC coming into force, political parties are raising questions about how serious is the Election Commission in settling cases of MCC violations.

In Bengal, within a week of the announcement of elections to the 294 Assembly seats in the state, at least two dozen complaints by various political parties of the state have already reached the Election Commission and this is only going to increase as the elections draw closer, given the high stakes that are involved for political parties in the state.