Hate speech: EC yet to decide on taking action

New Delhi: The Election Commission is yet to take a considered view on the issue of taking action against political parties whose leaders make hate speeches during election campaign.

Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath said the poll body will have to consider a variety of issues before taking a view on holding political parties responsible for the conduct of their campaigners.

“That actually is a good question. How far we can make party responsible for individual speakers? What should be his position in the party? What should be the widespread nature of this organisation will have to be looked at before we take a view on that,” the CEC said.

He was responding to a question on whether EC will hold political parties accountable for the conduct of its leaders during campaigning.

Sampath said the poll watchdog took the “extreme step” of banning speakers from being given permission to address voters during the Lok Sabha polls.

He said in the just-concluded campaigning for assembly bypolls to be held tomorrow, the Commission took “very strong action” including filing of FIR against people concerned.

Election Commission had yesterday reprimanded controversial BJP MP Yogi Adityanath for “provoking feelings of enmity” during a recent speech in Noida and asked the state poll officials to ensure filing of an FIR against him.

EC’s rebuke for the Hindutva hardliner for allegedly invoking “religion” and making “appeal on this ground to secure votes” for his party came a day after he was booked for defying a ban on election meeting in Lucknow.

The poll body in its order also cautioned the BJP leader to be careful in his future public utterances.

Responding to a question on Union ministers holding press conferences on Narendra Modi government’s 100 days in power, he said the Model Code of Conduct applies to Maharashtra and Haryana going for polls on October 15.

On whether the EC would approach the Supreme Court against a Delhi High Court order setting aside the poll body’s order holding former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan guilty of filing incorrect expenses for the 2009 Assembly elections, he said the Commission is yet to see the copy of judgement.

The EC in its July 13 order had also issued a show cause notice to Chavan seeking his response within 20 days on why he be not disqualified for the same.

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