CEC urges severe fines for model code violation
NEW DELHI CHIEF Election Commissioner SY Quraishi said on Sunday that the Representation of the People Act should be fine-tuned to make penalties for violating the model code of conduct (MCC) more stringent but disfavoured giving statutory backing to the code.
Speaking to reporters, Quraishi said the poll panel had the authority for conducting free and fair elections and did not require more powers.
“But we need to fine-tune and update certain provisions of the Representation of the People Act to make penalties for violation of the MCC more stringent,” Quraishi said.
The CEC said current fines for violations of the MCC were ridiculous. He said there was a fine of only Rs500 prescribed under the act for a violation, which needed to be updated to bring it in line with the current realities.
Quraishi’s remarks came after the conclusion of the process of voting on Saturday for electing new assemblies in five states including Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand.
Voting was held in Manipur on January 28, Punjab and Uttarakhand January 30 and Goa on March 3. The sevenphased poll process in Uttar Pradesh also ended on March 3. Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa and Uttarakhand recorded their highest ever voting percentage.
Quraishi said that though the MCC had only a moral authority, it was sufficient for conducting free and fair polls as seen in the successful conclusion of elections to the assemblies of five states.
“The world looks at the model code of conduct with wonder...No one should undermine the model code of conduct,” he said.
During the campaign in Uttar Pradesh, the commission issued notices to union ministers Salman Khurshid, Beni Prasad Verma and Sriprakash Jaiswal for alleged violation of the code.
A controversy was sparked by media reports on a suspected move to give statutory backing to the MCC, but the government denied that it was discussing any such proposal.