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‘Can’t drag cases’: Supreme Court nudges EC to act promptly on hate speech

The Supreme Court nudged the Election Commission on Monday to act promptly on complaints of hate speeches by politicians during the campaign for the national election, bluntly telling the poll body that it could not drag matters like this.

india Updated: Apr 15, 2019 14:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Supreme Court,India news,EC
There is also a Supreme Court order that prohibits candidates from making appeals for votes on communal lines.(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)

The Supreme Court nudged the Election Commission on Monday to act promptly on complaints of hate speeches by politicians during the campaign for the national election, bluntly telling the poll body that it could not drag matters like this.

“You have to act very promptly… Get into action immediately,” a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi observed. The judges were hearing a petition against a string of hate speeches by political leaders and wanted the Supreme Court to step in.

The two immediate examples before the judges were controversial speeches reported to have been made by Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath over the last few days.

In a speech at a rally in Saharanpur’s Deoband on April 7, Mayawati had appealed to Muslims to vote for the alliance and not divide their vote by supporting another political party.

Two days later, according to the Election Commission, Yogi Adityanath told a rally in Meerut about Mayawati’s speech and said: “If the Congress, SP and BSP have faith in ‘Ali’, we have faith in ‘Bajrang Bali’, the followers of Bajrang Bali will not tolerate them.”

The two prominent politicians were sent notices by the Election Commission for their speeches that were widely seen as an attempt to communalise the elections.

The law and the model code of conduct bars political leaders from canvassing on the basis of religion. There is also a Supreme Court order that prohibits candidates from making appeals for votes on communal lines.

But by this weekend, there were already over 75 complaints listed on the Election Commission’s website against leaders making speeches with content that is prohibited.

First Published: Apr 15, 2019 14:21 IST