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Seems EC has got its powers now, says Supreme Court, dismisses Mayawati’s plea against gag order

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Supreme Court today (Tuesday, April 16) expressed satisfaction with Election Commission (EC) taking action against leading political candidates for their communal speeches, soon after being pulled up by the court for describing itself as “toothless” and “powerless” in the face of hate.

“Seems you have got your powers now,” Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi remarked to the EC.

After being pulled up by the Supreme Court, the EC had acted against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan and BJP leader Maneka Gandhi, prohibiting them from election campaign for 48 to 72 hours.

“We found we have several powers…” senior advocate CA Sundaram, who appeared for the ECI in the case, acquiesced.

“So, EC has woken up to its powers,” CJI Gogoi said pointedly, again.

On Monday, the EC had claimed it was mostly helpless if candidates spewed communal vitriol in their campaign speeches for Lok Sabha polls of 2019.

This had riled a Bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi, who initially threatened to summon Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora to take the court’s questions. The court had then decided to delve deep into the EC’s claims that its powers were “circumscribed”. It had given the Commission exactly 24 hours to be ready with a response.

Shortly after the order was passed on Monday, the EC passed orders against the four politicians, gagging them.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1555408156293{border-top-width: 10px !important;border-right-width: 10px !important;border-bottom-width: 10px !important;border-left-width: 10px !important;padding-top: 10px !important;padding-right: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;background-color: #bcbcbc !important;border-radius: 10px !important;}”]The Supreme Court also dismissed BSP chief Mayawati’s objections to the EC’s order that barred her from campaigning for 48 hours. The court asked her to file a separate plea against the poll body’s gag order

Mayawati alleged that the Election Commission passed ex-parte orders. Mayawati’s lawyer and senior advocate Dushyant Dave said the EC’s gag is “extremely drastic”. He sought an urgent hearing at 2 pm on Tuesday.

“This is harsh. Meetings are already scheduled,” Dave urged the court for a hearing.

“File an appeal if you want. Not commenting on anything now,” Chief Justice dismissed the plea.

The EC ban came to effect from 6 am on Tuesday. The ban means Mayawati will not be able to address a rally in Agra on Tuesday – the last day before campaigning for the second phase of elections comes to an end. Eight of the 80 Lok Sabha seats of Uttar Pradesh will vote on April 18.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]“Pursuant to order passed yesterday (April 15), EC has taken action, appropriate details of which have been submitted. No further order called for today. Mention (the case) as and when required,” the Supreme Court recorded in its order on Tuesday.

On Monday, the Chief Justice lashed out at the EC, saying, “You are basically saying you (EC) are toothless and powerless against hate speeches. The highest you can do is send a notice to the offending candidate. If the candidate replies, send him or her an advisory. Despite this, if there is violation of Model Code of Conduct, you may then file a criminal complaint… That is all? That is your powers under the law?”

The Court said the EC was “duty-bound” to act promptly against hate speech given in violation of the Model Code of Conduct under place in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The Court was hearing a petition filed by an NRI, Harpreet Mansukhani, highlighting the increase in hate and divisive speeches in the name of religion and caste in the Lok Sabha elections of 2019.

The petition had urged the court to direct the constitution of a committee headed by a former apex court judge to closely watch the election process and check the fairness of the EC.

The petition said the communalism of Indian politics, and caste-based parties, were a “great threat to the spirit of the Constitution”.

Mansukhani, represented by senior advocate Sanjay Hegde and advocate Arup Banerjee, said, “India is beginning to look like Turkey under Erdogan or Russia under Putin, which are turning towards a populist majoritarian leader and right-wing politics for their salvation.”

“The essential component of a constitutional democracy is its ability to give and secure for its citizenry a representative form of government, elected freely and fairly, and comprising of a polity whose members are men and women of high integrity and morality,” the petition said.

Referring to communal and caste-based election speeches and remarks of political leaders, Mansukhani had said the plea was filed to “maintain secular environment in the forthcoming Lok Sabha Election, 2019.”

Also Read: Case filed against Azam Khan over sexist ‘Khaki underwear remark’, EC takes action

“The ‘undesirable development’ of appeals to religion, race, caste, community or language of politicians would hamper the objective of fundamental rights provided under the Constitution of India, this would affect the public at large,” the plea had said.

The plea had also sought a direction to the poll panel to take strict actions against media houses which hold debates on caste or religious lines.

“Our Constitution ensures a Socialist, Secular State and equality, fraternity among its citizens. Our country has a democratic set-up which is by the people, for the people and of the people.

Also Read: Supreme Court asks EC to watch full Modi biopic, give opinion by Fri in sealed cover

“A new trend of giving tickets to those who spread communal hatred and do caste or religion based politics has grown very rapidly on media and social media platform more than that the situation appears to be more alarming when we find such persons being elected for the State Assembly or Parliament…,” the plea had said.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

2024 Lok Sabha Elections

BJP issues show-cause notice to MP Jayant Sinha for not voting in Lok Sabha Elections

Sinha has been accused of not paying attention to his organizational duties and did not participate in the election campaigning since Jaiswal’s candidacy was announced. His absence during elections in Hazaribag Lok Sabha seat on Monday has further intensified the situation in BJP.

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BJP issues show-cause notice to MP Jayant Sinha for not voting in Lok Sabha Elections

BJP on Monday issued a show cause notice to former Union Minister Jayant Sinha for not participating in the Lok Sabha elections after Manish Jaiswal was declared candidate from the Hazaribagh Lok Sabha seat and thereby maligning the party’s image. Jayant Sinha is the son of former union finance minister Yashwant Sinha and is the sitting MP of Hazaribag. Sinha did not participate in elections in Hazaribag Lok Sabha seat.

Sinha has been accused of not paying attention to his organizational duties and did not participate in the election campaigning since Jaiswal’s candidacy was announced. His absence during elections in Hazaribag Lok Sabha seat on Monday has further intensified the situation in BJP. The notice issued on Monday requires Sinha to provide an explanation within 2 days, as per instructions from state BJP president and former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi. Sahu said further actions will depend on Sinha’s response.

Attempts were made to reach him for his comments but Sinha remained unavailable and did not respond to calls and messages. Earlier Sinha took to X and expressed his desire to shift his focus towards combating global climatic change and highlighting his attention to continue working with economic and governance issues.

In the past Hazaribag has been represented by both Yashwant Sinha and his son Jayant Sinha and holds substantial political weight in Jharkhand. In the 2019 general elections Jayant Sinha was victorious by a margin of 4.79 lakh votes and defeated Congress’s Gopal Sahu. Jaiswal whose nomination sparked controversy had earlier contested elections from the Mandu assembly seat on a JVM ticket.

 Earlier Jayant Sinha has served on India’s council of ministers from 2014 and 2019, and also as the minister of state for finance and minister of state of civil aviation. The BJP MP is also known for helping launch the UDAN regional connectivity scheme that increased the number of operational airports in India by 50% in 3 years.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Voter turnout of 56.68% recorded till 5pm in 5th phase of Lok Sabha elections

Elections are being held in 49 constituencies across eight states and Union Territories in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections 2024.

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A voter turnout of 56.68 % was recorded in phase 5 till 5 pm as per the Election Commission’s Voter Turnout App, with the highest voting percentage in West Bengal (73 %) and the lowest in Maharashtra (48.66 %). Lok Sabha elections are taking place in 49 constituencies across 8 states and Union Territories in the 5th phase of Lok Sabha elections 2024.

Voter turnout of 56.68% was recorded till 5pm. The breakup is as follows: J&K: 54.21%, Bihar: 52.35%, Ladakh: 67.15%, Jharkhand: 61.90%, Maharashtra: 48.66%, UP: 55.80%, Odisha: 60.55% and West Bengal: 73%. The fate of 4 Union ministers, including Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani, as well as Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will be decided in the ongoing Lok Sabha election. Former UP CM Mayawati, BJP’s Rae Bareli candidate Dinesh Pratep Singh, Smriti Irani were among the early voters today who cast their vote in the morning.

 The Lucknow East Lok Sabha seat will also hold a bypoll on the same day. The Lok Sabha seats which are participating in this phase include Rae Bareli, Mohanlalganj, Jalaun (SC), Amethi, Hamirpur, Jhansi, Banda, Kaushambi (SC), Fatehpur, Faizabad, Barabanki (SC), Gonda  and Kaisarganj. The candidates also include and minister of state of consumer affairs Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti (Fatehpur) and minister of state for housing and urban affairs Kaushal Kishor (Mohanlalganj). Rahul Gandhi is contesting from Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat which was previously held by his mother and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

 The total number of voters expected to cast their vote in this phase is over 2.68 crore voters, with 144 candidates looking for their support. 11 BJP incumbent Lok Sabha MPs are contesting in this phase, while nominating new candidates in Kaisarganj and Barabanki (SC) Lok Sabha seats.

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AAP leader Sanjay Singh accuses BJP of planning an attack on Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

The AAP leader accused PM Modi and the BJP of being immersed in hatred so much that they are conspiring to kill the Delhi Chief Minister. He added that the Prime Minister Office, BJP and PM Modi will be responsible if anything happens to Kejriwal.

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Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sanjay Singh on Monday accused BJP of planning an attack on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Singh was addressing a press conference in New Delhi where he said the BJP has been in a state of panic ever since Arvind Kejriwal came out of jail.

He said BJP is now plotting to launch a deadly attack on Arvind Kejriwal. This conspiracy is being conducted directly from the Prime Minister’s Office. A threat of attack on Kejriwal ji has been written at Rajiv Chowk and Patel Nagar Metro stations.

The AAP leader accused PM Modi and the BJP of being immersed in hatred so much that they are conspiring to kill the Delhi Chief Minister. He added that the Prime Minister Office, BJP and PM Modi will be responsible if anything happens to Kejriwal. He pointed out that Kejriwal had not been given insulin for 23 days when he was in judicial custody in Tihar jail.

Singh said a 3 time elected chief minister is being openly threatened with attacks and murder, and nobody is saying anything. He said AAP leaders are writing letters to the Election Commission and if Kejiriwal gets a scratch, the PMO, BJP and PM Modi will be held responsible.

The Supreme Court has given interim bail to the Aam Aadmi Party supremo till June 1 ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in New Delhi. But according to the terms of his bail, the Delhi chief minister cannot make any comments about his role in the Delhi liquor scam case.

 Kejriwal has spent over 50 days in Tihar Jail and the Enforcement Directorate arrested him in an excise policy case on March 21, days after the election schedule for the general elections was announced. The bail is applicable until June 1 and Kejriwal has to surrender to authorities on June 2.

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