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Business News/ Elections 2019 / Lok Sabha Elections 2019/  Elections 2019: SC snubs Mayawati, says EC has woken up to its powers
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Elections 2019: SC snubs Mayawati, says EC has woken up to its powers

Supreme Court declines to hear a plea by BSP chief Mayawati against EC's order barring her from campaigning for two days
  • The BSP supremo, in a statement issued outside Supreme Court, says the EC’s order marked a 'black day'
  • Mayawati, president of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). (PTI)Premium
    Mayawati, president of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). (PTI)

    New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear a plea by Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) chief Mayawati against an Election Commission (EC) order barring her from campaigning for two days.

    The EC on Monday imposed a campaigning ban on Mayawati and three other political leaders for making allegedly polarizing religion- or caste-based remarks.

    Mayawati, who was barred from campaigning for 48 hours starting Tuesday, pleaded against the sanction.

    “These are drastic measures restraining them from holding public meetings. The EC has acted because of your order yesterday (Monday). The EC’s orders have been passed ex-parte," Mayawati’s lawyer Dushyant Dave argued.

    Mayawati had not been heard before the EC passed the “extreme order", he added.

    A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi answered that Mayawati could appeal against the EC order but the Supreme Court would not intervene as of now. Dave repeatedly pleaded for a stay until the court finally took a note of the EC order but stated that no further orders are required as of now.

    The BSP supremo, in a statement issued outside the court, said the EC’s order marked a “black day". She alleged that the decision was “hurried" and taken “under pressure". She added that the EC has “closed its eyes and ears" on speeches made by Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders.

    “Shah and Modi have been given an open hand to spread hatred among different communities and play with the security of the country," the BSP president alleged.

    Mayawati’s plea came on the second day of a hearing on a public interest litigation filed by a non-resident Indian, Harpreet Mansukhani, seeking action against leaders who made polarizing speeches—a case that has already seen the apex court upbraid the EC for its failure to act.

    On Tuesday, the Supreme Court continued with its strong line: “Seems like you have got powers and have woken up to it," Gogoi told the EC.

    “We found we have several powers," agreed senior advocate Aryama Sundaram, representing the poll commission.

    The court expressed its satisfaction at the EC’s decision to take action against offenders. On Monday, the commission, after being rebuked by the Supreme Court, swiftly passed orders against Mayawati and three other political leaders—Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Union minister Maneka Gandhi and Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan. The orders bar them from campaigning, holding public meetings or propagating their parties’ interests for varying periods.

    On Monday, the poll watchdog had told the court that it had no powers to disqualify a candidate found violating the model code of conduct. It could send them a notice followed by an advisory.

    “Only in case of repeated violation of the advisories, the EC has the power to file a first information report with the police for initiation of criminal proceedings," Gogoi observed on Monday.

    Gogoi had ordered the presence of the EC representative in the court as it examined the powers of the body and the actions taken by it against “instances of making of speeches provoking enmity or hatred between classes of citizens or for voting for any person on the grounds of religion, caste etc".

    PTI contributed to this story.

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    Published: 17 Apr 2019, 01:43 AM IST
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