No Ban On Rallies During Non-Election Period: ECI To Allahabad HC


The Election Commission of India (ECI) has submitted before the Allahabad High Court that it lacks jurisdiction to prohibit political parties from holding caste-based rallies during the non-election period.

The ECI also argued in its counter-affidavit that the High Court cannot prohibit political parties from contesting subsequent rallies as a result of staging caste-based rallies.

The Court was considering a public interest litigation (PIL) brought in 2013 by one Moti Lal Yadav, who wanted a full ban on all political parties that organise caste rallies.

In addition, the petition demanded that all such political parties be delisted.

After observing that the plea had received no response, the Court had last year sent new notices to the ECI and many political parties.

The Court had also imposed temporary injunctions prohibiting all caste-based gatherings throughout the State of Uttar Pradesh.

The ECI then filed the current counter affidavit, asserting that it lacks the authority to prohibit political parties from holding meetings and rallies along caste lines during the non-election period.

In addition, the Commission notified the Court that it had created a set of severe guidelines that forbade campaigning along communal lines or forging votes in accordance with caste, creed, or religion.

The ECI, however, cannot deal with violations of the same outside of the election time.

According to the affidavit, the poll body can take action against delinquent political parties, contesting candidates, and their agents who make caste-based appeals in their election campaigns only during the election period, after the Model Code of Conduct takes effect, and until the polls are completed, but not after this period ends.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte