SC agrees with EC on clean chit to Modi, Shah speeches
Asks Congress MP to file fresh petition against comments ‘violating’ poll code
The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed with the contention of the Election Commission of India (EC) that its clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah for their poll speeches may be right or wrong, but the court certainly cannot examine the merit of its decisions on the basis of a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by Congress MP Sushmita Dev.
A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, however, gave Ms. Dev the liberty to challenge afresh, if she so desired, the merit of the EC orders clearing Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah of violating the Model Code of Conduct by delivering alleged hate speeches and misuse of the armed forces for political propaganda.
‘Plea deals with delay’
The hearing saw the Bench fundamentally agreeing to the objection raised by the poll body that Ms. Dev’s present plea dealt solely with the issue of delay shown by it in deciding complaints against Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah. The EC said Ms. Dev cannot later improve on her PIL plea through affidavits challenging the merits of its orders.
“The PIL has become infructuous. The complaints have been decided by us, rightly or wrongly. Our orders have been communicated to the Congress party, to Mr. Randeep Surjewala… This petition is only about delay. The petitioner cannot expand the petition and go into the merits of our orders,” senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, for the EC, raised a preliminary objection.
Ms. Dev’s latest affidavit, filed on May 7, accuses Mr. Modi of making “obscene” remarks to “malign” the image of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.