ECI Issues Show Cause Notice to RaGa over 'Panauti' & 'Pickpocket' Jibes against PM

Rahul has been asked to provide his explanation, on the allegation made and to show causes as to why action as deemed fit for alleged violation of MCC and relevant penal provisions is not initiated by the Commission, within November 25, 2023.
ECI Issues Show Cause Notice to RaGa over 'Pannauti' & 'Pickpocket' Jibes against PM
ECI Issues Show Cause Notice to RaGa over 'Pannauti' & 'Pickpocket' Jibes against PM

Election Commission of India (ECI) issued a show cause notice to Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on his 'panauti' and 'pickpocket' jibes at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.

In the notice, the ECI stated, “A complaint has been received from the BJP alleging that you, on November 22, 2023 in a public meeting at Bayatu, District Barmer, Rajasthan made wild allegations and spoke in a derisive and obnoxious manner about the Prime Minster.”

It is alleged that comparing a Prime Minister to a "Jaibkatra" (pick pocket) and using the word "Panauti" is unbecoming of a very senior leader of National Political Party, ECI stated in the notice.

“Further, the allegation of grant of waivers of Rs. 14,00,000 crores for the past 9 years, is asserted by the BJP, as not borne out on facts. Furthermore, they are allegedly in violation of Section 123 (4) of the R. P. Act, Section 171G, 504, 505 (2), and 499 of IPC and provisions of Model Code of Conduct,” ECI added.

Following this, Rahul has been asked to provide his explanation, on the allegation made and to show causes as to why action as deemed fit for alleged violation of MCC and relevant penal provisions is not initiated by the Commission within November 25, 2023.

“If no reply is received by then action deemed fit will be taken by the Commission,” ECI mentioned in the notice.

How Rahul Gandhi violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), ECI Explained

In this regard, provision of the Model Code of Conduct which hold the field are as follows: clause 2 of Part I 'General Conduct of Model Code of Conduct for the guidance of Political Parties and Candidates' inter-alia provides that: -

"........Criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations or distortion shall be avoided."

Further, the expression 'Pannauti' ex facie falls in the equity of the prohibition of Section 123 Sub Clause 2 proviso (a)(ii) which reads as follows:

"Section 123 Corrupt practices- The following shall be deemed to be corrupt practices for the purposes of this Act-

Undue influence, that is to say, any direct or indirect interference or attempt to interfere on the part of the candidate or his agent, or of any other person [with the consent of the candidate or his election agent), with the free exercise of any electoral right: Provided that-

(a) Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of this clause any such person as is referred to therein who-

(ii) induces or attempts to induce a candidate or an elector to believe that he, or any person in whom he is interested, will become or will be rendered an object of divine displeasure or spiritual censure."

In this regard a general advisory by the ECI dated May 2, 2023 is also recalled in which, inter alia, the ECI expressed concerns at the plummeting level of political discourse in the campaigning period and advised all to operate within the confines of MCC and as expected decency in public discourse.

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