2. Do you think electoral code of conduct can be enforced more strictly? Why or why not? Substantiate your views. (10 Marks)
क्या आपको लगता है कि चुनावी आचार संहिता को और सख्ती से लागू किया जा सकता है? क्यों या क्यों नहीं? अपने विचारों की पुष्टि करें।
Students are expected to write about the electoral code of conduct substantiate your view whether it should be enforced strictly or not.
The electoral Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines issued by the election Commission of India to regulate political parties and candidates prior to elections, in order to ensure a free and fair election.
Purpose of Enforcing it strictly:
- Free and fair election is the soul of democracy. To safeguard and further strengthen our democracy code of conducts must be made legally enforceable.
- Election Commission of India (ECI) will get certain executive power to check unethical behavior of political parties.
- It helps EC in keeping with the mandate it has been given under Article 324 of the Constitution, which gives it the power to supervise and conduct free and fair elections to the Parliament and State Legislatures.
- Currently MCC does not specify the type of punishment that may arise from a violation of its provisions. There is no classification of violations based on the severity of the act with statutory status there will be some development.
- The absence of specific norms on exercising its powers can lead the EC to arbitrariness and individual bias. For example Mayawati was banned from public meetings by the EC for 48 hours, due to her appeal to Muslims whereas other politicians were appealing openly. Enacting a law will give EC full autonomy to take action unbiasedly.
Enforcing it strictly not a good idea:
- Morality cannot be enforced by law. To follow code of conduct in true spirit and to not adopt any circumvention of law, one has to imbibe political morality in himself/herself.
- Code of conduct can be followed only by moral conviction. For this one must have moral principles and ability to do moral analysis. Law alone will not be sufficient.
- Chief Justice Earl Warren once remarked: “In civilized life, law floats in a sea of ethics.” Without development of political ethics making code of conduct legally enforceable will not be sufficient.
- Politicians have devised ingenious ways to circumvent the code of conduct. For instance wearing clothes of particular colour; using encrypted sentences in campaign speeches etc.
- Digital companies like Facebook are run by companies located overseas. Holding them accountable has been difficult for Indian agencies.
- Social media has blurred distinction between private and public. New age tools like live webcasting, making election campaign related stuff go ‘Viral’, bringing in celebrities ‘influencers’ etc. have made implementation of MCC a complex task.
- Moral erosion and criminalization of politics has rendered all codes of conduct ineffective. With enforcement of code of conduct there will be number of election litigation and election disputes it will halt the Democratic representation process.
- According to EC, elections must be completed within a relatively short time or close to 45 days and judicial proceedings typically take longer, therefore it is not feasible to make it enforceable by law.
Dr. Rajendra Prasad one remarked, “The future of our nation will not depend on whether it is ruled by this law or that, but on the men who rules it.” Hence development of morality is more important than legislation.