Model Code of Conduct Current Affairs
Election Commission (EC) has announced that Model Code of Conduct comes into force immediately in states where legislative assemblies have been dissolved prematurely. It also held that after dissolution caretaker government as well as the central government is barred from announcing new schemes in particular state from date of dissolution of legislative assembly till new House is elected.
Model Code of Conduct
MCC is set of guidelines issued by Election Commission to regulate conduct of political parties and their candidates in run up to elections. It is aimed at ensuring free and fair elections. The Code doesn’t have any statutory basis and not enforceable by law. But it has indisputable legitimacy and parties across the political spectrum have generally adhered to its letter and spirit. It was issued for first time in 1971 before 5th Lok Sabha elections. Since then, it has been issued before every central and state election and revised from time to time.
The main objective of MCC is to ensure level playing field for all political parties, prevent conflicts between parties, and ensure law and order in heat of election season. Its primary purpose is to ensure that ruling party does not misuse or use government machinery to its advantage for its election campaign purpose. It is applicable to political parties, their candidates and polling agents, government in power and all government employees.
Date of enforcement of MCC
It has evolved over years of tussle between EC and government. IT kicks in day EC announces the poll dates. This is based on agreement between EC and Central government reached on April 16, 2001. However, agreement imposes condition on EC that announcement cannot be more than three weeks before date of notification of polls. It was agreed that inauguration of any project will be done by civil servants so that MCC does not stand in the way of public interest.
The Election Commission of India has launched Cvigil mobile application for citizens to report any violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) during elections. The app aims at empowering people across the country to share evidence of malpractice by political parties, their candidates and activists directly with ECI. At present its beta version has been released and will be made available for use during forthcoming Assembly elections Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan.
Features of cVigil
It will allow anyone in election-bound state to report violations of MCC. By using this app, vigilant citizens can immediately report on incidents of misconduct anonymously and in real-time by clicking picture or record video of upto two minutes and uploading it on the app.
The identity of the complainant will be kept confidential and will be provided with Unique ID to track and receive the follow up updates on the mobile. The app also has inbuilt features to prevent its misuse. It will be active only in States where elections have been announced.
The app also facilitates sharing of geo-tagged photographic and video evidence without disclosing identity of sender. The uploaded information will be transmitted to control room and from there to field units or flying squads, mapped on Geographic Information System (GIS) for further action.
So far, complaints about violations of MCC often were not followed instantly, leading to violators escaping detection from action squads. Besides, lack of any documented evidence in form of pictures or videos was seen as hurdle in verifying complaint. Further, absence of robust response system to quickly and accurately identify scene of occurrence of violations with help of geographical location details hampered election officers’ ability to apprehend violators. The cVigil app is expected to fill in all these gaps and create fast-track complaint reception and redressal system.