Election Commission yet to act on ‘54%’ petitions

Cases against Modi or BJP president Amit Shah not displayed on EC's portal

By Sudeshna Banerjee in Calcutta
  • Published 6.05.19, 3:42 AM
  • Updated 6.05.19, 3:42 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
The Election Commission (Prem Singh)

A Calcuttan has accused the Election Commission of having failed to act on 54 per cent of the complaints displayed on its website for at least a week over alleged violation of the model code of conduct.

Mahendra Singh, a mental health activist, also plans to approach the Supreme Court for the poll panel’s clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a complaint he had himself lodged — and which he says was not even uploaded on the website.

“Between February 11 and April 26, a total of 475 cases were registered that are visible on the National Grievance Services portal of the ECI (Election Commission of India),” Singh said.

“Of them, 41 were either dropped by the ECI or withdrawn by the complainant. Of the remaining registered cases, only 199 were decided, which comes to roughly 46 per cent of the total (434), without taking the dropped cases into account. This means a staggering 54 per cent cases have not been resolved.”

He added: “Of them (unresolved cases), about 80 cases, amounting to about 18 per cent (of 434), are languishing at the initial scrutiny level. This means the Election Commission has failed to provide a level playing field in this Lok Sabha election.”

Singh says he has downloaded and analysed the status and case details of all the complaints displayed on the website.

He asserts that these do not include the cases against Modi or BJP president Amit Shah, which have not been displayed on the portal.

“Mind you, they have displayed the notice seeking an explanation from Rahul Gandhi on May 1 for his comment at a rally in Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh, claiming that a new law allows the shooting of Adivasis,” Singh said.

Singh had lodged a complaint against Modi for invoking the military (the Balakot air strikes) in an election speech at Latur on April 9.

The “action taken” status on the complaint, which he could see only after logging in using his own name, is stuck at: “Report submitted to ECI.”

“It seems from media reports that on a similar complaint, filed much later, the Maharashtra state and Osmanabad district election officers had submitted a report that pointed to a violation (of the model code) but the ECI overruled them. But I have not received any communication.”

On Friday, Singh sent a mail to the chief election commissioner, deputy election commissioner (in charge of matters related to the model code) and the poll panel’s IT director, seeking a copy of its order giving a clean chit to Modi for his Latur speech.

“I am consulting lawyers about moving the Supreme Court in this matter,” he says.

On May 1, the poll panel had said that “after examination of complete transcript of speech of 11 pages as per the certified copy sent by the returning officer, 40 Osmanabad parliamentary constituency, commission is of the considered view that in this matter no such violation of the extant advisories/provisions is attracted”.

EC dissent

Any dissent by an election commissioner has to be recorded in the file and the complainant has a right to know whether the order passed by the Election Commission was unanimous, two former chief election commissioners said on Sunday.

“Whether a violation of the mode of conduct is found or not, the decision is usually communicated to the complainant by a secretary. But the communication should be clear that the decision was taken unanimously or by a majority,” said one of the former CECs. “The dissent should be uploaded on EC website,” the other former CEC added.

According to sources, one of the election commissioners had dissented against the clean chit to Modi on his Latur speech and one in Wardha attacking Rahul for contesting from Wayanad. PTI

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