The Supreme Court said Monday it would examine the scope of the Election Commission’s powers against candidates for making speeches along religious and caste lines. The bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, was hearing a PIL filed by an NRI in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) seeking action against political parties for “hate speeches” made by their leaders or representatives.
Taking note of statements made by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and BSP chief Mayawati during their Lok Sabha election campaigns, the bench expressed concern over the EC’s inaction. “Tell us what action you have taken against Mayawati and Yogi Adityanath,” the bench asked according to news agency PTI, and directed officials from the Election Commission to appear before it on Tuesday.
Supreme Court to examine tomorrow what the Election Commission is entitled to do in case of speech by political leaders on religious lines. Expresses concern why EC was not taking any action @IndianExpress
— Ananthakrishnan G (@axidentaljourno) April 15, 2019
On Monday, the Election Commission told the court that its powers against candidates were limited, and it could only issue notice, give an advisory or file a complaint for violation of the Model Code of Conduct, reported Bar and Bench.
Officials reportedly told the court that they had no powers beyond that and the commission couldn’t disqualify candidates.
The matter will be heard on Tuesday.
(With inputs from PTI)