Election Commission
Headquarters of the Election Commission of India in New Delhi | Suraj Sigh Bisht | ThePrint
Text Size:

New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) has formally taken on former chief election commissioner S.Y. Quraishi, accusing him of “selective amnesia” over his criticism of the EC that it was not acting on poll conduct violations.

In a letter written by Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena, the EC has stated that no action was taken by the commission under Sections 123 and 125 of the Representation of People Act, 1951 or Section 153 of the Indian Penal Code during Quraishi’s tenure as CEC.

A list of MCC notices issued and action taken by Commission during the period when you were holding the office of CEC is enclosed,” the letter says.

“You may kindly like to peruse the same. It would be seen from the enclosed list that no action was taken by the then Commission during this period under sections 123 and 125 of the RP Act-1951/153 IPC 1860.

 “It is rather ironic as how far selective amnesia can mislead the readers!!” the letter adds.  

In its letter the EC has also said, “A brief note on the historicity of Model Code of Conduct rather eloquently described as ‘toothless’ in article on 8.2.2020 in one of the leading newspapers of the country is being enclosed for your kind perusal.” 

In his letter, Saxena has also informed Quraishi that the EC is planning to publish a compilation of actions taken against MCC violations in the last 20 years.

We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.

Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

ThePrint contacted Quraishi for a response but is yet to receive one. This copy will be updated when he responds. 

Section 123 of the RP Act defines aggravating hatred between communities as “corrupt practices” and Section 125 of the RP Act prescribes punitive measures for these practices. Section 153 of the IPC seeks to punish those “who indulge in wanton vilification or attacks upon the religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc of any particular group or class or upon the founders and prophets of a religion”. 


Also read: Gujarat to Delhi, BJP’s ally is Election Commission. And Congress must be blamed for this


The Quraishi piece

On 8 February, a day before the Delhi elections, which witnessed a deeply polarising campaign, Quraishi wrote an article in The Indian Express criticising the poll panel for “not going the distance in punishing the hate speech”. 

Quraishi served as the CEC from July 2010 to June 2012. 

His article states that several statements made during the campaign not only violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), but also the Representation of People Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). 

“What is baffling, however, is that if the Commission had found them guilty of offences deserving punishment, why did it fall short of filing FIRs?” Quraishi wrote in the piece, which has been attached by the EC in its letter to him. 

The EC has also pulled out data of MCC violations from Quraishi’s tenure to corroborate its point. It claims that during his tenure, only nine showcause notices for MCC violations were issued in 11 state and union territory elections. 

In these cases, the EC adds, advisories and warnings were issued in five and two cases respectively, while two cases were simply closed. Further, the EC did not lodge an FIR in any of these cases — a criticism mounted by Quraishi on the current commission. 

Some of these cases involved serious poll conduct violations. For example, former union minister Salman Khurshid had in the 2012 Uttar Pradesh elections announced 9 per cent reservation for minorities within the existing OBC quota of 27 per cent. 

While the EC found him guilty of MCC violation, it did not take any action against Khurshid after he wrote a letter to EC “regretting” his announcement. 


Also read: Hate speech, 3 shootings in 4 days: Is EC losing its authority in Delhi election?


 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it

You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.

You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.

We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.

At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.

This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.

If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.

Support Our Journalism

3 Comments Share Your Views

3 COMMENTS

  1. The mindset and the pathological dislikes are obvious from the channels on which the ex CEC is seen giving sermons. It is amazing that the man giving sermons has not take a single outstanding decision towards cleaning up the system. Well it now appears fashionable to criticise the administration on the very issues that people were part of while enjoying the perks of the positions. Who will take them seriously?

  2. Quraishi readily gave a “free and fair” certificate to the stage managed elections in Pakistan. Just google for it and you will find his articles and speeches on Pakistani elections. He vitriol is reserved for Indian elections – especially the ones whose outcome he and our elites can’t control.

  3. Minority hate speech is to be condemned as much as the majority hate speech. Selective outrage will not solve any problems. Jairam Ramesh said that yesterday.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here