Don't need more powers, says CEC
New Delhi: The Mode Code of Conduct, which
came under attack recently from ministers in trouble and from
government which hurriedly dropped a controversial move to
give it a statutory backing, needs to be further strengthened,
Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi said on Sunday.
The Election Commission has sufficient authority under
the law for the conduct of free and fair elections and does
not require any more powers, he said on the conclusion of the
Assembly elections in five states, including Uttar Pradesh, in
which a number of ministers were hauled up for violation of
the model code of conduct.
"We do not require any more powers. The Model Code of
Conduct is sufficient. But we need to fine-tune and update
certain provisions of the Representation of People's Act to
make penalties for violation of MCC more stringent," Chief
Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi said here today.
Asked whether the commission needed more powers, he said,
"we have demonstrated that our powers are good enough and we
have used them judiciously".
He said "the current fines for violations of MCC under
the Act are ridiculous” For instance, there is a fine of only
Rs 500 prescribed under the Act for a violation, which needs
to be updated to bring it in line with the current realities."
Disfavouring statutory backing for the Model Code of
Conduct, the CEC said it is a unique document which the
political parties have themselves evolved for discipline
during elections. "It is working very effectively. It only
needs some fine tuning," he said.