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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Decoding the model code of conduct

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 05, 2014
First Published: 22:57 IST(5/3/2014) | Last Updated: 23:01 IST(5/3/2014)

The model code of conduct kicked in with Wednesday's announcement of the election schedule, making the Election Commission the country's super-boss. Here’s a look at what it means for parties, candidates and of course, voters.

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What is it: A set of norms governing the conduct of political parties and candidates

In force from: Date of announcement of election schedule till elections are over

EC’s role: To ensure code is followed for the sake of free, fair and peaceful polls

Absolute don’ts:
* Activities that may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic

* Criticising parties/candidates on any aspect of private life not connected with public activities

* Criticising based on unverified allegations or distortions

* Utilising official visits for electioneering

* Use of pilot car with beacon lights

* Issuing self-promotional advertisements at the cost of the public exchequer

* Sanctioning grants/payments out of discretionary funds

* Announcing new government schemes; though old ones can continue

* Use of religious places for election propaganda
 
Checks and balances:

* Govt cannot transfer/give new postings to officials involved in election work without EC approval

* Govt can grant parole to convicted criminals after following due procedures upon consultation with the chief electoral officer only if it feels the move is essential

* Parties/candidates can use govt aircraft/choppers for electioneering, but there should be no discrimination between the ruling party and the others; it will have to paid for and proper record maintained

* Prior written permission should be obtained from concerned police authorities in case of public meetings and processions; use of loudspeakers between 10pm and 6 am is prohibited

What amounts to bribery of voters:
Distributing any item having candidate’s picture or election symbol

Consequences: A complaint may be filed before the area magistrate by the district administration against the distribution of the said material under section 171 B of the IPC

Permitted expenditure:
The amount allotted depends on the size of the state 

* Rs. 70 lakh - expenditure limit for parliamentary candidates in all states except Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Goa

* Rs. 54 lakh - expenditure limit for parliamentary candidates in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Goa

* Rs. 70 lakh – expenditure limit for parliamentary candidates of NCT of Delhi

* Rs. 54 lakh - expenditure limit for parliamentary candidates for all other UTs

* Rs. 28 lakh - expenditure limit for Assembly candidates in bigger states and NCT of Delhi (assembly elections are scheduled for Andhra Pradesh and Odisha)

* Rs. 20 lakh - expenditure limit for assembly candidates of other states and UTs, including Sikkim


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