Supreme Court dismisses Congress plea alleging Election Commission inaction against Modi, Shah
The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed Congress MP Sushmita Dev’s petition alleging inaction by the Election Commission on alleged violation of the model code of conduct by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, saying it cannot interfere with the orders passed by the poll panel.
“We do not see how we can interfere with the merits of the orders passed by the Election Commission… we can’t go into the specifics of the allegations. You can file a separate petition challenging the orders,” a bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta told senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Dev.
Dev had in her petition filed last month asked the court to direct the poll panel to expedite decisions on complaints against the Prime Minist er and the BJP president for allegedly violating the model code through hate speeches and by using the armed forces for poll propaganda.
The court on May 2 asked the poll panel to take action by May 6.
The Election Commission then issued several clean chits to Modi and Shah, on complaints that had been pending for a month.
In an additional affidavit filed in court this week, Dev argued that the poll panel had issued cryptic orders giving Modi and Shah a clean chit without citing reasons, which was in violation of Supreme Court orders.
Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the poll panel, told the court on Wednesday that it had taken decisions and passed orders on all the complaints of alleged violations made by the Congress. In the garb of an affidavit, the petitioner cannot prolong the issue or make fresh complaints, he said.
Agreeing with the contention, Justice Gogoi observed: “The Election Commission has rightly or wrongly passed the orders on complaints made by you. Go and challenge it by way of a petition if you are still aggrieved.”
The Chief Justice said that since the issue of inaction had been addressed by the poll panel, the present petition filed by Dev had become “infructuous”.
The bench refused to be swayed by Singhvi’s argument that the Election Commission had passed the orders only after Dev filed the petition before the apex court.
Singhvi also pointed out that Dev had filed the additional affidavit only after the court asked her on Monday to bring on record the EC orders giving a clean chit to Modi and Shah.
“Dr Singhvi, you challenge the orders (of EC). Instead of filing the affidavit, you should have filed the petition. In half a day, you can file a fresh petition and that is the choice you have,” the bench said.
In her affidavit on Tuesday, the Congress MP had said that of the 12 complaints of model code violations lodged against Narendra Modi since March 20, the Election Commission had not taken action in seven cases.
Of the remaining five cases, it had dismissed four complaints “without reason” although in three of the four dismissed cases, there were “dissent “notes. The EC had not supplied copies or details of the dissent notes, the affidavit said.
The poll panel, being a constitutional body, was obliged to pass reasoned orders.