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ECI’s new guidelines on Model Code of Conduct
The Election Commission of India (ECI), through the chief electoral officers of the states, has issued new guidelines regarding ‘Model Code of Conduct’ to all the political parties.
In the fresh guidelines, the ECI has brought the manifesto issued by political parties at the time of elections under the ambit of the Model Code of Conduct. The Supreme Court, in the year 2008 had, in a case, issued instructions to the Election Commission of India to prepare guidelines concerning the manifesto issued by the political parties, after consulting with them, an official press release issued here on Friday stated.
Following the instructions of the Supreme Court, the ECI, after discussion with all the political parties, has issued the new guidelines. In a circular issued on February 19, the EC said that in principle the Commission considers that issuance of manifesto is the right of political parties, but undesirable effects of such declarations could be on the impartial and free election process. Under Section 324 of the Constitution, the ECI has been given the responsibility of conducting Parliament and Assembly elections.
The EC, in its new guidelines has directed the political parties that any matter that could be against the ideals and principles of the Constitution should not be included in the manifesto. Besides, manifesto should be in harmony with the basic spirit of the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct. Under the Constitution, in the guidelines policy of the State, instructions have been issued to all the states relating to the preparation of different welfare schemes for their citizens, hence there is no objection in making promises on such welfare schemes in the manifesto. However, political parties should not make such assurances that would affect the chastity of the election process.
Concerning transparency, all the political parties are expected to pay attention on the reliability of promises and justification of such promises and financial resources to meet out the promises should be mentioned in the manifesto. Confidence of the voters should be achieved based on such promises that could possibly be fulfilled. No party or its candidate should do anything that would increase differences among the people of different castes, religion, or language, leading to creation of hatred and tension. Political party should not issue any such appeal that would hurt the religious or caste feeling of any person. Criticism on other parties should be limited to its policies, programmes, image, and work.
Parties and their candidates should refrain from all such activities that would, come under the categories of corrupt conduct and crime in the election process, it stated.
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