RELEASE OF PM MODI BIOPIC DEFERRED TILL FURTHER ORDERS FROM EC
What’s in news?
- The release of a biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been deferred till further orders from the Election Commission, which on April 10 issued a directive prohibiting display of any biopic material that sub-serves “the purposes of any political entity or individual connected to it”.
- With this, 2 other movies were also deferred.
- Citing Article 324 of the constitution, the ECI finally moved to control the flood of film productions and electronic media “displayed with the furtherance of electoral gains during the period of Model Code of Conduct.”
- Also hold the release of NTR Laxmi biopic of Former Andhra’s CM, Udyama Simham, biopic of K. Chandrashekar Rao, the chief minister of Telangana.
- According to an NDTV report, poll commission sources say the order suspending the release of Modi biopic also applies to NaMo TV – the channel promoting the prime minister and the BJP – which is now likely to face restrictions.
- A complaint was filed in the Supreme Court alledged that, releasing the Biopic of Narendra Modi at the time of Election, is against the Model Code of Conduct.
- On April 8, the Supreme Court had refused to intervene in the matter saying “too much of court time is wasted on these non-issues”. It had left it to the Election Commission to rule on whether the movie tilts the balance in favour of the ruling BJP.
What is the Model Code of Conduct and who does it apply to?
The MCC is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission to regulate political parties and candidates prior to elections, to ensure free and fair elections. This is in keeping with Article 324 of the Constitution, which gives the Election Commission the power to supervise elections to the Parliament and state legislatures. The MCC is operational from the date that the election schedule is announced till the date that results are announced. Thus, for the general elections this year, the MCC came into force on March 10, 2019, when the election schedule was announced, and will operate till May 23, 2019, when the final results will be announced.
What are the key provisions of the Model Code of Conduct?
The MCC contains eight provisions dealing with general conduct, meetings, processions, polling day, polling booths, observers, party in power, and election manifestos. Major provisions of the MCC are outlined below.
- General Conduct: Criticism of political parties must be limited to their policies and programmes, past record and work. Activities such as: (a) using caste and communal feelings to secure votes, (b) criticising candidates on the basis of unverified reports, (c) bribing or intimidation of voters, and (d) organising demonstrations or picketing outside houses of persons to protest against their opinions, are prohibited.
- Meetings: Parties must inform the local police authorities of the venue and time of any meeting in time to enable the police to make adequate security arrangements.
- Processions: If two or more candidates plan processions along the same route, organisers must establish contact in advance to ensure that the processions do not clash. Carrying and burning effigies representing members of other political parties is not allowed.
- Polling day: All authorised party workers at polling booths should be given identity badges. These should not contain the party name, symbol or name of the candidate.
- Polling booths: Only voters, and those with a valid pass from the Election Commission, will be allowed to enter polling booths.
- Observers: The Election Commission will appoint observers to whom any candidates may report problems regarding the conduct of the election.
- Party in power: The MCC incorporated certain restrictions in 1979, regulating the conduct of the party in power. Ministers must not combine official visits with election work or use official machinery for the same. The party must avoid advertising at the cost of the public exchequer or using official mass media for publicity on achievements to improve chances of victory in the elections. Ministers and other authorities must not announce any financial grants, or promise any construction of roads, provision of drinking water, etc. Other parties must be allowed to use public spaces and rest houses and these must not be monopolised by the party in power.
- Election manifestos: Added in 2013, these guidelines prohibit parties from making promises that exert an undue influence on voters, and suggest that manifestos also indicate the means to achieve promises.
As per the article 324 (1), Superintendence, direction and control of elections to be vested in an Election Commission
(1) The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to Parliament and to the Legislature of every State and of elections to the offices of President and Vice President held under this Constitution shall be vested in a Commission (referred to in this Constitution as the Election Commission).
Other related articles of Election Commission of India:
- Article 325: No person to be ineligible for inclusion in, or to claim to be included in a special, electoral roll on grounds of religion, race, caste or sex
- Article 326: Elections to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assemblies of States to be on the basis of adult suffrage.
- Article 327: Power of Parliament to make provision with respect to elections to Legislatures
- Article 328: Power of Legislature of a State to make provision with respect to elections to such Legislature
- Article 329: Bar to interference by courts in electoral matters
- Article 329A: Repealed