Rationalizing Modal Code of Conduct (MMC)
MMC are set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India for political parties and candidates to religiously abide by the set of rules provided in the form of blue print during elections mainly with respect to speeches, polling day, polling booths, portfolios, election manifestos, processions and general conduct. Election Commission is empowered to supervise elections to the Parliament and state legislatures as prescribed in Article 324 of Indian constitution.
Is there any Constitutional backing?
The MCC is not enforceable by law and does not have any legal backing hence we can also say that Modal Code of Conduct is not legally binding, but there are certain provisions of the MCC that can be enforced through invoking corresponding provisions of laws such as the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Information Related to Laws Backing MCC
These laws can be used in speeches that are communally sensitive or incite religious feelings.
- Indian Penal Code 1860 containing sections 124A IPC and section 153A IPC in which former Penalizes sedition and latter Penalizes on promoting of enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc and acts prejudicially to maintain harmony.
- Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) containing section 95 which provides power to declare certain publications forfeited and allows censorship without judicial review,
- Representation of The People Act 1951 containing section 123(3A) and section 125 that prohibits promotion of enmity on grounds of religion,race,caste,community or language in connection with election as a corrupt electoral practice and prohibits it.
In India, the Constitutional foundation regarding hate speech revolves around Article 19(2), which is referred to as there can be reasonable restrictions on the right to freedom of speech and expression and provisions of these IPC law & Acts comes under it. The MCC is intended to help the entire election process to maintain high standards of public morality and provide a level playing field for all parties and candidates.