Amid poll season, a PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking direction that misquoting judicial orders by political leaders during the poll campaign should constitute a corrupt practice.
The plea, filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, said the Election Commission can recommend any probe agency to look into complaints against contesting candidates and political office-bearers for seeking vote on religion, race, caste, community or language. The petition said under the Representation of the People Act, a violation could be declared a corrupt practice.
The PIL assumes significance as the apex court was not happy with the Congress President Rahul Gandhi misquoting its judgement on Rafale review petitions in his poll campaign, and has sought explanation from him.
"On April 7, 2019, in her address during the first joint rally by SP, BSP and RLD in Uttar Pradesh, BSP Chief Mayawati had asked Muslim Community to vote for their candidate and not the Congress.
"Under Section 123(3) of the RPA, appeal on the grounds of religion, race, caste, community or language and promoting feelings of enmity among different classes constitute a corrupt practice," said the petition.
The petition said since 1990 onwards, elections to Parliament and state assemblies, religious, casteist and fake statements have been made to support a particular party and candidate, which is against the basic tenet of democracy and free and fair election under Article 324.
However, the EC is not authorized to order investigation when the model code of conduct is in force. "There is no provision to challenge the corrupt practice adopted by a candidate," Upadhyay said.
Among others, the petitioner demanded that the EC should have the power to reject a candidature and de-register a political party for promoting animosity among communities.
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