Narendra Modi’s selfie-goal: FIRs filed for ‘flouting’ poll code

EC also directed that separate FIRs should be filed against all the TV channels, electronic media which carried the images of the meeting.

Written by Raghvendra Rao | New Delhi/ahmedabad | Updated: May 1, 2014 8:07 am

BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi courted trouble on Wednesday as he displayed his party’s symbol and delivered a “political speech” outside a polling booth in Ahmedabad after he cast his vote in the morning. Hours later, the Ahmedabad Crime Branch filed an FIR against him on the orders of the Election Commission.

Minutes after he voted at a booth in Ranip, Ahmedabad, Modi took a selfie, holding his party’s symbol — a metal lotus — with his inked finger. He continued to display the symbol as he addressed the press.

“We have registered an FIR against Chief Minister Narendra Modi as directed by the EC under Section 126 (1) (a) and 126 (1) (b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code,” confirmed DCP (Crime) Himanshu Shukla. He said a complaint has also been registered against some “media channels” for covering the event.

Earlier in the day, the EC called for action in its communication to the Gujarat Chief Secretary and Director General of Police. Stating that it had “seen the video recording of the address” by Modi, the EC said that “from the substance, tone and tenor of the address” and the “manner in which the symbol, lotus, of the BJP was being displayed by him… thereby displaying to the public election matter by means of television in areas going to polls today”, it is “evident” that it “was in the nature of political speech intended and calculated to influence and affect the result of elections in the constituencies going to polls today, not only in Ahmedabad but also in all other constituencies in Gujarat and elsewhere in the country”.

The poll panel said it was “of the view that by holding that meeting… when the polling is going on in the entire state of Gujarat and in different parts of the country, Modi has violated the provisions of Sections 126 (1) (a) and 126 (l) (b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.”

It further directed that “complaints/ FIRs as the case may be” should be filed against Modi and “all others who were involved in the convening and holding of the said meeting”. It said “if any restrictions have been imposed by the competent authority in Ahmedabad under Section 144 of CrPC, then complaints/ FlR should also be made under Section 188 of IPC”.

The EC also directed that separate complaints/ FIRs should be filed against all the TV channels and other electronic media which carried the proceedings/ images of the meeting and display of election matter.

The poll panel asked the Gujarat officials to send compliance reports by 6 pm, along with copies of the complaints/ FIRs. “We received the EC’s order and after going through it we asked the Ahmedabad Crime Branch to register the FIR. It has been done,” said Gujarat Additional Chief Secretary (Home) S K Nanda.

Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, prohibits public meetings during a period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for conclusion of polling.

Section 126 (1) (a) states that no person shall convene, hold or attend, join or address any public meeting or procession in connection with an election. Section 126 (1) (b) says no person shall display to the public any election matter by means of cinematograph, television or other similar apparatus. Any violation of these provisions are punishable with imprisonment of up to two years or fine or both.

Last year, the Supreme Court had ruled that an MP or MLA would be immediately disqualified if convicted by a court for a criminal offence with a jail sentence of two years or more. If convicted, Modi’s status as a Gujarat MLA or a Lok Sabha MP (if elected) could be in jeopardy.

“At this stage, it is a hypothetical situation. Only an FIR has been filed. It doesn’t mean that a person has been convicted or not convicted. An inquiry will happen, the matter will go to a court which will frame charges,” said constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap.

“If this action is mainly on account of showing his party’s symbol, wouldn’t it be a violation if Samajwadi Party candidates come on cycles or someone from another party comes to a polling station on an elephant. Would showing the hand be a violation, since that too is the symbol of a party? All this will have to be examined,” said Kashyap.

Asked if getting convicted in a case like this could have an impact on Modi’s candidature, Kashyap said, “The legal provision is there. Whether it has to be applied or not is for the court to decide.”

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  1. A
    May 1, 2014 at 1:26 am
    Childish. Stop this pettiness and start governing the nation!
    1. V
      Vivek kumar
      May 1, 2014 at 9:02 am
      Election commission is rapidly losing it's credibility.
      1. B
        Bobby Cherian
        Apr 30, 2014 at 1:43 pm
        Finally after all these apparent election violations, the EC has decided to get upset..quite conveniently..
        1. F
          May 1, 2014 at 6:06 am
          Narendra Modi is a Hero. His reception among the Indian public shows this to us, But like the Tragic Heros of ancient Greece, Narendra Modi has a fatal flaw -- hubris the same situation, Advani was sane enough not to get drawn in by reporters asking questions and simply said, "I have no comment, I don't want to break the law." Modi, however, got sucked in by all the adulation and broke the law (or at least skirted the edges of breaking it), blinded by the people's attention and his own impending success.For the sake of the country's progress, hopefully the EC lets him off with a fine and a slap on the wrist. But should he become PM, God willing, then Modi will still be left to deal with his hubris -- on issues far more consequential for the world than a model poll code.
          1. K
            Kesava Chandran
            May 1, 2014 at 6:16 am
            Modi is a shrewd tactician.It may be too simplistic to ume that he didn't know the rules and walked into a trap which could disqualify him as per EC rules.If the FIR is upheld and he is penalized he would get m support for the BJP/UDF as a 'martyr' for a back-door entry as PM,on the other hand if he gets let off he would have been able to achieve whatever he intended through his act.
            1. S
              Shankar Jain
              Apr 30, 2014 at 9:20 pm
              After 10 years of legal battle, the courts will fine the media Rs 10 lakhs and Modi Rs 10000/ What a waste of time .
              1. S
                Srinivasan Gopalarao
                May 1, 2014 at 12:23 am
                Laws can be silly and draconian .If I am not going to show my partie's symbol who is going to ????
                1. S
                  Sid Gautam
                  May 1, 2014 at 2:23 am
                  In a free country, how can you control free media from publishing photos or words of a candidate? Why is the candidate at fault? Does the candidate has power over media?
                  1. S
                    Sid Gautam
                    Apr 30, 2014 at 9:49 pm
                    In a free society, how can a candidate control New media from publishing his photo or words spoken impromptu? Election Commission has no business charging the candidate for what a free-press does or doesn't do.
                    1. E
                      Ekkandy Aboobacker
                      May 1, 2014 at 2:50 am
                      Prime Ministerial candidate and does not know the rule of the country or ignorance of the law ????
                      1. G
                        May 1, 2014 at 12:51 am
                        Mr. Modi seems reckless. Why would he display the Lotus symbol or deliver a political speech. It appears he has hurt himself
                        1. J
                          May 1, 2014 at 1:21 pm
                          EC is getting political with a clear bias for Congress.
                          1. T
                            May 1, 2014 at 2:05 am
                            Many many such complaints against Rahul hi also even in the past months.. but in india under INC nothing adverse against BJP or Narendra Modi will happen
                            1. A
                              Ahamad fuad
                              May 1, 2014 at 6:28 am
                              modi knows the rules and also knows that in the courts it takes years for a decision to come and so breaking law is easier and punishment if any awarded can be appealed against at various levels and even got off the hook.he got his work done and message conve. that is all, come what may
                              1. R
                                May 1, 2014 at 5:58 am
                                EC - Please take into account for deleting valid voters and missing names on voters list. Accountability has to be fixed. A serious concern
                                1. R
                                  May 1, 2014 at 1:16 am
                                  Ec is blind to mayawati making a political speech 1hour before modi on all TV channels What about filthy and dirty language used byDerek o Brien against modiMukul sinha against modiLallu calling modi a butcherAzam khan no action by up govt and ec remains silentPeople of India will give a being reply to congress and election commission People of India will eliminate congress forever Congress must bharat is close to reality
                                  1. S
                                    May 1, 2014 at 5:26 am
                                    I saw his video and feel shame to see his desperation. Can he do anything with honesty? without any gimmick/tricks? Seems he has realized the ground reality.
                                    1. S
                                      s s nair
                                      May 1, 2014 at 1:38 am
                                      The Election Commission has shown guts in ordering thefirst ever FIR against the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate and the BJP asusual have gone all out in defending him and blamed the act as desperateattempt by the Congress, which according to them is facing defeat and that isthe reason for for filing of FIR. I am sure nothing is going to happen as NarendraModi has escaped from any FIR against him all these years. But filing an FIRitself is great. I have heard and seen many Prime Ministers from PanditJawaharlal Nehru to Dr Manmohan Singh. To my knowledge they had conducted theoffice in a degnified way and they never indulged in uttering any filthylanguage or making nasty commentsagainst their opponents unlike Narendra Modi and his followers. Is it necessaryfor a PM candidate to address an election meeting right outside a polling boothafter casting vote. Has he set an example for others to follow? The people willneed an explanation from the consutional pundit Arun Jaitley as to whetherthe BJP is doing all these out of desperation in Congress camp.
                                      1. V
                                        Vijay B.
                                        May 1, 2014 at 2:53 am
                                        If EC is showing such efficiency all jails in India will have to carry no vacancy boards. Congress has little work now than to complaint. Every act of Modi will make a headline and give him added publicity. His name is TRP for media and media want news. They are not having any time to cover and highlight the real issues. We have so many to highlight... let the people judge now. 16th May will decide this country's fortune,, Modi or not Modi does not matter. A stable government with clear majority who can deliver is more required. Little important is the selfie either of Modiji or Rahul or anybody else.
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