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Model code of conduct

Topics Covered: RPA related issues.

Model code of conduct:


Context:

The State Election Commission (SEC) has sought an explanation from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on the complaint that he had violated the model code of conduct with his announcement that COVID-19 vaccination will be provided free of cost to everyone in the State.

  • A decision will be taken on the matter after studying his explanation.

Model Code of Conduct(MCC):

What is MCC?

These are the guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India for conduct of political parties and candidates during elections mainly with respect to speeches, polling day, polling booths, election manifestos, processions and general conduct.

  • This is in keeping with Article 324 of the Constitution, which mandates EC to conduct free and fair elections to the Parliament and State Legislatures.

Aim: To ensure free and fair elections.

When it comes into force?

So far, the Model Code of Conduct came into force immediately on announcement of the election schedule by the commission. The Code remains in force till the end of the electoral process.

Status:

The need for such code is in the interest of free and fair elections. However, the code does not have any specific statutory basis. It has only a persuasive effect. It contains what is known as “rules of electoral morality”. But this lack of statutory backing does not prevent the Commission from enforcing it.

Evolution:

The Commission issued the code for the first time in 1971 (5th Election) and revised it from time to time. This set of norms has been evolved with the consensus of political parties who have consented to abide by the principles embodied in the said code and also binds them to respect and observe it in its letter and spirit.

What it contains?

The salient features of the Model Code of Conduct lay down how political parties, contesting candidates and party(s) in power should conduct themselves during the process of elections i.e. on their general conduct during electioneering, holding meetings and processions, poll day activities and functioning of the party in power etc.

Enforcement:

The EC has devised several mechanisms to take note of the violation of the code, which include joint task forces of enforcement agencies and flying squads. The latest is the introduction of the cVIGIL mobile app through which audio-visual evidence of malpractices can be reported.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is MCC?
  2. Does it have any statutory backing?
  3. Issued and enforced by?
  4. What happens if violated?
  5. Evolution.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for and significance of MCC.

Sources: the Hindu.