Model Code of Conduct removed: Election Commission

The Uncut

New Delhi. The Model Code of Conduct, which was in force from March 16 with the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections, was lifted on Thursday. In a letter sent to the Union Cabinet Secretary and Chief Secretaries of the states, the Election Commission said that after the declaration of the results of the Lok Sabha elections and the assembly elections in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh and by-elections on some seats, the ‘Model Code of Conduct has been lifted with immediate effect’. On Thursday itself, the Election Commission, under the leadership of Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, handed over the list of winning candidates to President Draupadi Murmu, after which the process of formation of the 18th Lok Sabha began.

This time the voting process was completed in a total of 44 days, which was the second longest process after the first parliamentary elections of 1951-52. In 1951-52, this period was more than four months. This time the election process lasted for a total of 82 days from the announcement of elections by the commission on March 16 to the counting of votes on June 4. Under the world’s largest election process, voting took place in seven phases, which began on April 19.

The Model Code of Conduct is a document of conventions agreed upon by all stakeholders and enforced during elections. Political parties themselves have agreed to govern their conduct during elections and work within the code. It helps the Election Commission in keeping with its mandate under Article 324 of the Constitution, which gives it the power to supervise and conduct free and fair elections to Parliament and state legislatures.

Though it has no statutory backing, the Supreme Court has upheld its sanctity on several occasions. The Commission is fully authorised to investigate and punish any violation of the code. The Code of Conduct originated in 1960 during the assembly elections in Kerala when the administration tried to formulate a code of conduct for political parties. The code has evolved over the last 60 years to reach its present form.

According to the Election Commission of India, the Model Code of Conduct states that the ruling parties at the Centre and in the states should ensure that they do not use their official positions for campaigning. Ministers and other government authorities cannot announce any form of financial grants while the code of conduct is in force. No such project or scheme can be announced which influences voters in favour of the ruling party and ministers cannot use government machinery for the purpose of campaigning when the model code of conduct is in force.

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