New Delhi: Taking note of statements made by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Mayawati, the Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Election Commission of India for its failure to take action against hate speech during the Lok Sabha election campaign.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation against the increasing hate speech in poll rallies, the Supreme Court said that the poll panel was “duty-bound to take action and cannot sleep over such
The SC summoned a senior EC official on Tuesday and said it would examine the scope of the poll panel’s powers after it was informed that its powers are very limited and the EC can only issue a notice, give advisory and file complaint against parties found violating model code of conduct.
“We don’t have powers beyond that. Can’t disqualify persons,” the commission told the court.
The Court, taking objection to the EC action till now, said “you must act when these statements are issued. You have done nothing about such statements.”
The EC has been criticised for its weak-kneed responses to poll code violations this election season, particularly after it let off Adityanath with a warning after he was found guilty for his statement in which he described the Indian Army as ‘Modi ki sena’. “Be careful in your utterances in the future,” the EC had said.
Days later, the UP Chief Minister was issued yet another notice by the Election Commission for his ‘Ali-Bajrangbali’ remark. “If you (Opposition) have faith in Ali, we have faith in Bajrangbali,” Adityanath said at a rally.
In his response to the notice, Adityanath said he made the apparently communal statement in retaliation to BSP chief Mayawati’s appeal to Muslim voters in Deoband, which was also taken note of by the EC.
Mayawati had made an appeal to Muslim voters in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur and Bareilly districts during the first joint rally of the BSP-SP alliance in Deoband.
She had cautioned voters, “particularly Muslims”, against splitting their votes in the eight western UP seats that went to polls in the first phase on April 11.
The BSP chief was also issued a showcause notice for her appeal. She had defended her appeal to the voters, saying that the message was actually meant for the “bahujan samaj”, of which Muslims are a part.
Yogi Adityanath and Mayawati bars
In its order, the Commission said Yogi Adityanath and Mayawati can’t address any public meeting, campaigns or address the media for 72 hours from 6 am tomorrow and 48 hours starting tomorrow respectively.