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Model Code of Conduct

Published: 23rd Mar, 2024

Context

The Model Code of Conduct becomes active as soon as the dates for elections are announced and stays in place until the results are declared.

About

About Model Code of Conduct (MCC)

  • The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is like a rulebook for political parties and leaders during elections in India.
  • It has guidelines to make sure that elections are fair and free from unfair influence.
  • The MCC covers many things like what politicians can say in their speeches, how they should behave on voting day, and even what they can promise in their election manifestos.
  • Legal enforceability: The MCC does not have legal enforceability on its own. Nevertheless, specific provisions within it may find enforcement through corresponding clauses in other statutes, including the Indian Penal Code of 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1973, and the Representation of the People Act of 1951.
    • Additionally, the ECI holds authority under paragraph 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order of 1968 to suspend or withdraw a party's recognition.

Key rules in the MCC include:

  • Fair Play: Political parties in power can't use their position to gain an advantage in the elections. They can't announce new policies, projects, or schemes that could sway voters.
  • Equal Opportunities: The ruling party has to treat opposition parties fairly. They can't use government resources or facilities for their own campaigns.
  • No Discrimination: Campaigns should focus on the work of political parties and candidates, not on stirring up caste or religious sentiments.
  • Respect for Silence: There's a 48-hour period before voting starts called "election silence." During this time, no campaigning is allowed to give voters a chance to think calmly before casting their votes.
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