Shri Modi’s statement invoking religious sentiments in Tamil Nadu, prima facie violating the Model Code of Conduct- Why is the Commission hesitant to act?

To

Shri Rajiv Kumar

Chief Election Commissioner

Shri Gyanesh Kumar

Election Commissioner

Dr Sukhbir Singh Sandhu 

Election Commissioner

Dear Dr Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, S/Shri Gyanesh Kumar/ Rajiv Kumar,

I requested the Election Commission of India (ECI), vide my letter of March 22nd, 2024  to examine and act firmly on the statement reported to have been made by Shri Modi, the Prime Minister in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu recently, appealing to the religious sentiments of the voters in prima facie violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC). 

I have tried to ascertain whether the Commission has acted at all on my complaint and whether any order has been passed on it but, to my anguish and disappointment, I have not come across any evidence of it. It looks as though the Commission has chosen not to act on my complaint for reasons best known to it.

May I remind the Commission that as a citizen I am entitled to know the outcome of my complaint under Article 19 of the Constitution? Is not the Commission aware of its obligation to disclose the action taken on the complaint under Section 4 of the RTI Act?


As a concerned citizen and a voter having a stake in the ensuing elections, I have the following questions for each one of the three Election Commissioners to consider and provide satisfactory answers for the public to see at the Commission’s website and judge for themselves the impartiality and effectiveness of the Commission as an authority set up under Article 324 of the Constitution mandated to conduct elections in a free and fair manner:

  • Does the Commission consider a political leader appealing to the religious sentiments of the voters to vote for his/her party not a violation of the MCC?
  • Does the Commission think that a complaint made by an ordinary citizen-voter like me need not be acted upon, and that the concerns of ordinary voters could be readily ignored?
  • Does the Commission consider that Shri Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister is beyond the ambit of the MCC and, therefore, he is not answerable to the Commission or the public at large?
  • Is there one set of rules in the electoral process for Shri Modi and another set of rules for all others?
  • Has the Commission chosen to act on my complaint cited or decided to ignore it altogether? 
  • Whether the Commission has ascertained the facts relating to the complaint from independent sources and passed a speaking order on my complaint? If so, can the Commission make a public disclosure of it?
  • Have there been any differences in thinking among the three individual Commissioners on the complaint in question and the reasons for the Commission not making a public disclosure of the dissenting views?
  • Considering that each one of you is presently occupying the office of the Commission as a result of selection predominantly made by the ruling political executive, does the Commission as a collective body feel obligated not to cause any embarrassment to the head of the political executive? 
  • Is the Commission, for some reason, afraid to act independently on my complaint to enforce the MCC?
  • Considering that the expenses incurred by the office of the Commission are met from the public exchequer, should not the Commission feel accountable to the public at large?

As pointed out by me time and again, the public at large repose trust in the Commission as an independent Constitutional authority and expect it to function in an entirely apolitical manner, to be able to conduct elections in a free and fair manner. If the Commission displays any bias in favour of those influential in the ruling political executive, or any fear to act against them, the trust that the public repose in it is sure to get eroded, raising concerns about the  Commission’s efficacy to function as a Constitutional authority.

I request the Commission members to meet specially to discuss the above questions and provide satisfactory answers to the public at large, failing which, I am afraid, that one would be constrained to infer that the Commission has no intention whatsoever to elevate itself to fulfill the mandate under Article 324 and act as an apolitical, independent body. 

I sincerely hope that the Commission would do everything to dispel any such perception.

Regards,

Yours sincerely,

E A S Sarma

Former Secretary to the Government of India

Visakhapatnam

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