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Model Code of Conduct Ahead of Lok Sabha Elections

Utkarsh Classes 19-03-2024
Model Code of Conduct Ahead of Lok Sabha Elections Election 8 min read

With the announcement of the Lok Sabha poll schedule by the Election Commission of India, the process of promulgating conduct commenced.

What is a Model Code of Conduct?

  • The Model code of conduct is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India for political parties and candidates contesting the election.The Model Code of Conduct ensures free and fair elections and a level playing field for all contestants.
  • The 1960 Kerala legislative assembly election introduced the Model Code of Conduct. 
  • The Lok Sabha election was introduced in the 1962 Lok Sabha election. 

Political parties and candidates must adhere to the following guidelines while issuing election manifestos for any elections to Parliament or State Assemblies:-

  • Political parties are advised to ensure that their election manifesto does not contain anything that goes against the principles and ideals enshrined in the Constitution. It should also comply with the Model Code of Conduct provisions, both in letter and spirit.
  • The Constitution's Directive Principles of State Policy urge the State to create various welfare measures for the citizens. Therefore, political parties may include promises of such measures in their election manifestos. However, they should avoid making promises that could compromise the election process's integrity or unduly influence voters in casting their votes.
  • To ensure transparency, a level playing field, and credibility of promises, election manifestos should explain the rationale for the promises and provide a general indication of how the financial requirements for them will be met. 
  • Voters should only be asked to trust promises that can be realized.

General Conduct

It is prohibited for any party or candidate to partake in religious activities or utilize places of worship for election propaganda. Appeals to caste or communal biases in order to secure votes are strictly forbidden. Criticism of private matters not related to public activity is off-limits for parties and candidates. It is also important to avoid baseless accusations or distorted claims when criticizing other parties or their members.

Such practices are offence:

To ensure fair and safe elections, it is prohibited to bribe, intimidate, or impersonate voters, canvass within 100 meters of polling stations, hold public meetings during the 48 hours leading up to the close of the poll, or transport voters to and from polling stations. 

Political parties and candidates are responsible for ensuring that their supporters do not disrupt meetings or processions organized by other parties. 

Additionally, workers or sympathizers of one party must not interfere with public meetings of another party by asking questions or distributing their own party's materials.

Meetings

The party or candidate must inform the local police of the venue and time of any proposed meeting well in advance to allow them to make necessary arrangements for controlling traffic and maintaining peace and order.

Procession

Prior to organizing a procession, a Party or candidate must establish the starting time and location, the intended route, and the time and place at which the procession will conclude. The proposed schedule should be adhered to without deviation in most cases.

Political parties or candidates should exercise as much control as possible over processionists carrying items that could be misused by unwelcome elements, particularly in moments of heightened emotion.

No political party or candidate should allow the display of effigies meant to represent members of other political parties or their leaders, burning of such effigies in public, or other such forms of demonstration.

Polling Day

All political parties and candidates must cooperate with election officers for peaceful polling and voter freedom. They should provide authorized workers with badges or ID cards and plain identity slips to voters. No liquor should be served/distributed on polling day or 48 hours before it. No unnecessary crowds near polling booths. Simple candidate camps without any propaganda material or eatables. Compliance with vehicle restrictions on polling day is necessary with displayed permits.

Polling Booth

The Election Commission appoints Observers. Candidates or their agents may bring specific complaints or problems to the Observer's attention regarding the conduct of elections.

About Election Commission of India

  • The Election Commission of India is a permanent constitutional body under Article 324 established on January 25th, 1950. 
  • It is responsible for overseeing, directing, and managing the entire electoral process for Parliament and the Legislature of each State, as well as for the President and Vice-President of India. 
  • The Commission consists of one Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners who make decisions by a majority vote. The President appoints these Commissioners for a tenure of six years or until the age of 65, whichever comes first. They are entitled to the same status, salary, and benefits as Judges of the Supreme Court of India.
  • The Commission celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 2001. Initially, it had only one Chief Election Commissioner, but two additional Election Commissioners were appointed on October 1st, 1993. 
  • It is important to note that the Chief Election Commissioner can only be removed from office through impeachment by Parliament.

FAQ

Answer: In 1960 Kerala’s Vidhan Sabha Election

Answer: Article 324
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