EC warns political parties of action for using abusive language

The EC has taken a serious note of the "plummeting" levels of political discourse during the ongoing assembly polls in five states.

New Delhi: Taking serious note of the "plummeting" levels of political discourse during the ongoing assembly polls in five states, the Election Commission Thursday put all parties on notice and warned of action for repeated use of "intemperate and abusive" language while campaigning.

"The Commission desires to put all political parties on notice that any repeated violations of the Model Code of Conduct and use of intemperate and abusive language may invite action against the defaulting political parties," the EC advisory to all political said.

The EC expressed "serious concern" and "deep anguish" at the progressively "plummeting" levels of political discourse witnessed during the ongoing election campaign for five state assembly elections to Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Delhi.

The Commission said while it recognizes the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution, but such right "is not absolute" and is to be exercised in such a manner that it does not transcend the boundaries of decency and morality or disturb public order or amount to defamation or give incitement to an offence.
"The Model Code of Conduct aims and seeks to achieve that very objective by its various provisions," the poll body said.

The EC cited petitions of two main national parties to it that sought derecognition of the opposite party and said the gravity of the situation can be gauged from such complaints.

It, however, said it does not want to initiate such action of derecognition of a party as of now, but warned of further action in case such violations continue.
"The burgeoning tide of complaints and counter complaints received in the Commission are indicative of the fact that, mouthing of provocative and inflammatory statements calculated to cause mutual hatred, disharmony or ill-will; use of intemperate and abusive language transgressing the limits of decency.

"Attacks on personal character and conduct of political rivals, in utterances and through posters/hoardings, tend to incite mutual hatred, disharmony or i11-wi11 and aggravate the differences between different political parties and classes of citizens on the grounds of religion, caste, community, which the Model Code of Conduct dissuades from being resorted to," the EC said.