Won’t get into action by central agencies, says EC | India News

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NEW DELHI: Making public its report card on enforcement of the model code of conduct in the first month of polls, Election Commission on Tuesday said it had decided against acting on opposition parties’ pleas for stopping the alleged “misuse” of central agencies like CBI, ED and NIA to target their leadership, as it did not want to interfere with the legal judicial process.
“Commission was guided by constitutional wisdom when presented with live situations involving political persons which have been under active consideration and orders of courts based on criminal investigations. While the commission remained unwaveringly committed to protection of level playing field and campaign entitlement of political parties and candidates, it has not found it correct to take any step that could overlap or overrun the legal judicial process,” EC said in its MCC report card.
The opposition had approached EC several times seeking restraining of poll-time raids, searches and arrests against rival parties and their leaders, describing them as instances of BJP “misusing the central enforcement agencies”. As reported by TOI earlier, EC after examining the issue concluded that it had little legal elbow room to intervene and direct the agencies to stop actions carried out as per their legal mandate which followed due legal procedure. It was of the opinion that any aggrieved party was free to go to court to seek legal remedy, as was already being done in cases like the alleged Delhi excise policy scam.
Making its actions towards enforcing MCC public is a first-of-its-kind exercise undertaken by the EC, which said it was doing so “for the larger sake of promised transparency” and “so that misgivings and insinuations at times coming from certain quarters, however small or limited, are addressed and stopped”.
EC said it had, right at the outset of the polling period, removed officers serving dual charge as principal secretary (home) or additional chief secretary (home) and principal secretary to chief ministers. “Four of the six states where suo motu transfers were ordered by EC are governed by BJP,” an EC functionary said. Officers including DGP West Bengal, non-cadre officers posted as DMs and SPs and those sharing familial relations with candidates were also suo motu replaced.
Taking a tough stand on utterances against the dignity of women, EC had condemned such remarks and asked violators like Supriya Shrinate and Dilip Ghosh to be careful in the future. It also wrote twice to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, asking him to restrain his party colleagues from making such undignified remarks, and sought details of the action taken. On Tuesday, EC barred Congress MP Randeep Surjewala from campaigning and giving media interviews for 48 hours for his disrespectful remarks against BJP’s Hema Malini.
EC said approximately 200 complaints were filed by various political parties and candidates across states. Of these, action was taken in 169 cases. While action was taken in 38 of 51 complaints received from BJP, 51 of 59 complaints filed by Congress and 80 of 90 complaints by other parties were also acted upon.
“The action-taken rate for complaints by other parties is higher than that in complaints received from BJP,” a commission functionary said.
EC recalled it had met 16 delegations from seven parties during the past month. Such delegations also met chief electoral officers at the state/UT level. Besides, complaints were tackled at the level of DMs/SPs, with the CEC having personally trained over 800 of them to handle MCC complaints.
A total of 2,68,080 complaints were on cVigil platform meant for citizens. Of these, action has been taken in 2,67,762 cases and 92% were resolved on an average in less than 100 minutes.

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