After the EC banned top political leaders like UP CM Yogi Adityanath, BSP leader Mayawati, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi and SP leader Azam Khan from campaigning for different time periods, the Supreme Court of India acted in accordance on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.
The Apex Court refused to consider BSP chief Mayawati’s plea challenging the EC’s 48-hr campaign ban on her and expressed satisfaction over the poll body’s action against leaders making hate speeches.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and consisting of Justice Sanjiv Khanna, has asked Mayawati’s counsel to file a separate appeal against the poll panel’s order.
The highest court in India seemed satisfied that the poll body has ‘woken up’ and barred various politicians from poll campaigning for varying hours.
The Election Commission had earlier on Monday imposed a nationwide campaign ban on Adityanath and Azam Khan for 72 hours, Mayawati and Maneka Gandhi for 48 hours for their provocative remarks with direct undertones to create communal rift and increase the chances of polarisation in the elections.
The all-India ban on all four leaders is in effect since 6 am on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.
While Adityanath, Mayawati and Maneka Gandhi were found guilty of violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) laid down by EC, SP leader Azam Khan not only violated the poll code, he also disregarded its November 2013 directive asking politicians to desist from “deeds or actions construed as being repugnant to the honour and dignity of women”.
For the first time a pan-India ban has been imposed on politicians and restrictions on a chief minister and a union minister have never happened before.
Mayawati alleged the order has been passed “under pressure” and it would be remembered as a “black day” in the EC’s history. Her alliance partner and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav asked the EC whether it is capable to issue similar directives to the prime minister to stop him from asking for votes in name of the Army.
The EC order to bar Adityanath and Mayawati came soon after the Supreme Court questioned the EC for the action it has taken in matters of this nature. It as ked the EC about the action taken so against the names mentioned above in regard to the violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
The EC’s counsel had said: “The power of the EC in this behalf is very limited. We can issue notice and seek reply but we cannot de-recognise a party or disqualify a candidate…we can only issue advisories and in case of a repeat offence, register a complaint.”
Reacting sharply, the bench had said, “So you are basically saying you are toothless and powerless against hate speeches.”
It had then said that besides sending a notice, an advisory and a criminal case can be filed only against such leader.