Election Commission of India has issued some guidelines for the code and conduct of political parties and there candidates during the time of elections regarding to the speech given by the candidates during election campaign, for polling day, portfolios of candidates , manifestos of parties, and other general things.
These set of norms has been developed by the consent of all the parties, who have given their consent to follow these set of rules and regulations. Then model code of conduct comes in the effect as the election commission announces the schedule of the elections for ensuring the free and fair elections. The main purpose of these norms is to ensure that the ruling party, do not use its position to get an advantage in the elections.
Elections in India
India is a country, divided in states and union territories, with a parliamentary system governed under the Constitution of India, which defines the facility distribution among the central and therefore the states.
The President of India is the nominal head of the country and commander-in-chief of all the defense forces in India.
However, the Prime Minister of India is that the real head of the country that exercises most executive powers for matters that need countrywide affection under a federal system. PM is that the leader of the party or political alliance having a majority within the national elections to the Lok Sabha.
India is regionally divided into States (and Union Territories) and every State features a Chief Minister who is that the leader of the party or political alliance having a majority within the State Assembly Elections that exercise executive powers therein State. The respective State’s Chief Minister has executive powers within the State and works jointly with the Prime Minister of India or his ministers on matters that need both State and Central attention. Some Union Territories also elect an Assembly and have a territorial government and other (mainly smaller) Union Territories are governed by an individual appointed by the President of India.
The President of India monitors the rule of law through his appointed governors in each State and on their recommendation can take over the chief powers from the Chief Minister of the State, temporarily when the elected representatives of the government have didn’t create a peaceful environment and have deteriorated into chaos. The President of India dissolves the prevailing government if necessary, and a brand-new election is conducted. All the functions associated with elections are performed by the election commission of India.
Election Commission of India
The Election Commission of India is an Independent constitutional body which is accountable for administering election processes in India, either at national level or at the basic level. The ECI administers elections of the houses of parliament, state Legislatures and the elections for the President and Vice President of the country.
The ECI’s powers are listed in Article 324 of the Indian Constitution. The commission has the powers under the Constitution, to act in an appropriate manner when the enacted laws make insufficient provisions to deal with a given situation in the conduct of an election. ECI is a constitutional body and is one of the institutions who enjoys both, autonomy, and independent working along with the country’s higher judiciary, the Union Public Service Commission, and the CAG of India.
Model code of conduct set by Election commission of India
General Guidelines: –
- No party or its candidate shall include in any activity which may increase the existing differences or create any kind of hatred or any kind of nuisance between different castes and communities, religions, or any linguistic community.
- If a party or any candidate is criticizing the other party, then, it should be limited to its policies, programs, past works, and track record. It should not be connected to any aspect of private life, should not connect with the public activities of the leaders or workers of the other party. No criticism should be done based on unverified allegations.
- For securing votes, nothing should be said in favor of any community. places of worship should not be used as a means for promotion election propaganda.
- All parties and candidates should avoid those activities which come under the “unfair practices” and are offense under the election laws.
- No individual should be disturbed regarding his political opinions. it is the right of every individual to enjoy a peaceful and undisturbed home-life, and this should not be disturbed.
- No political party or candidate shall permit his followers, to use of any individual’s private property without his permission regarding the election campaign.
- Political parties and candidates should make sure that their supporters do not make nuisance in or break up meetings and processions organized by other parties.
Regarding Meetings: –
- The party or candidate is required to inform the local police authorities about the time and venue of the meeting.
- A Party or candidate shall make sure that, if there is any restrictive or prohibitory order in force in the place proposed for the meeting and if such orders exist, they shall be followed strictly by the parties.
- If permission or license is required for the use of loudspeakers or any other facility regarding scheduled meeting, then the party or candidate shall apply to the related authority regarding the permission or license.
- Organizers of a meeting should take the assistance of the police on duty for dealing with persons disturbing a meeting or trying to create disorder.
Regarding Procession: –
- A Party or candidate organizing a procession shall decide the time and place of the procession, the route used for that, and the time and place where the procession will end.
- The organizers shall give advance information to the local police authorities regarding the program so they can make necessary arrangements.
- The organizers shall make sure that no rules should be breached during the procession.
- Processions shall be done in a way to keep as much to the right side of the road and the guidelines should be followed which is advised by the police authorities.
- If two or more political parties or candidates are going to make processions from the same route and at the same time, the organizers should coordinate the matter in advance and decide upon the guidelines that should be adhered to on the procession day so that no nuisance will be created to traffic.
Regarding Polling Day: –
All political parties should –
- Cooperate with the officers performing the election duty to make the whole process peaceful and free and fair elections should be done.
- No promotion should be done.
- Not distribute any kind of material or items to the voters.
- Cooperate with the authorities.
- Ensure that the camp of candidate should be simple and out of the premises of election place.
Polling Booth: –
No one can enter in the polling booths except the eligible voters and election officers.
Regarding the party in power: –
The party in power whether at the Centre or within the State or States concerned, shall make sure that no cause is given for any complaint that it’s used its official position for the needs of its election campaign and especially –
- The Ministers shall not combine their official visit and the election campaign work and confirm that no government machinery or personnel should be used for the election work.
- Government transport facilities, machinery, and officials should not be used for the election campaign of the party in power.
- Public places for holding election meetings and the use of helipads for air-flights related to elections should not be monopolized by itself. Other parties and candidates should be allowed to use such places and facilities on equivalent terms and conditions on which they are employed by the party in power.
- Rest houses, dark bungalows, or other Government accommodation shall not be monopolized by the party in power or its candidates and such accommodation shall be allowed to be employed by other parties and candidates during a fair manner.
- Issue of advertisement at the value of public exchequer within the newspapers and other media and therefore the misuse of official mass media during the election period for partisan coverage of political news and publicity regarding achievements with a view to furthering the prospects of the party in power shall be scrupulously avoided.
- From the time elections are announced by Commission, Ministers and other authorities shall not –
- Pass any financial grants.
- Lay foundation stones etc. of any schemes of any kind operated by the government.
- Make any promise of construction of roads, provision of beverage facilities, etc.
- Make any unconfirmed appointments in Government, Public Undertakings, etc. which will affect the votes in favor of the party in power.
- Ministers of Central or government shall not enter any polling place or place of counting except in their capacity as a candidate or voter or authorized agent.
These are some rules and regulations which are formulated by the Election Commission of India for conducting Free and Fair elections in the country. These guidelines should be followed by the political parties while elections. If these guidelines are not followed, then election commission can disqualify the candidate from taking part in the elections.
Frequently asked Questions: –
Q.1. Who is Responsible for Conducting the Free and Fair Elections in India?
Q.2. Who is the Nominal Head of the Country in India?
Q.3. Who is the Chief of all Defense Forces in India?
Q.4. What are the Guidelines Regarding the Polling Booth?
Q.5. Election Commission of India Operates under whose Authority.