Model Code of Conduct (MCC): History, Provisions, Significance

By K Balaji|Updated : July 13th, 2022

Model Code of Conduct is a set of rules and regulations which are issued by the Election Commission of India for the candidates and political parties during elections. These model codes of conduct cover speech guidelines, polling booth manifestos, general conduct processions, and polling day conduct. The Model Code of Conduct is enforced from the date of announcement of the election schedule by the Election Commission and is operational till the process of elections is completed.

Model Code of Conduct is an important topic for the UPSC Exam. Candidates should prepare the topic in detail, including all the aspects. The article covers all the relevant information related to the Model Code of Conduct that is essential for the IAS Exam.

Table of Content

What is the Model Code of Conduct?

The Model Code of Conduct, generally called the MCC, was formed by the Election Commission of India to organize fair elections in the country. A proper Model Code of Conduct helps the Commission to hold the election in an easy manner by restricting any kind of socialistic activity like clashes and riots against each other by maintaining fees and order during the campaigns. It helps the Commission in keeping with the directive given under Article 324 of the Constitution.

The Model Code of Conduct also defines the guidelines for the ruling parties so that there is a level playing field among all the parties during the elections and there is no room for statements claiming the predilection of the Election Commission toward the ruling party.

Download Model Code of Conduct Notes PDF

History of Model Code of Conduct

In 1960, the state administration of Kerala's Assembly Elections developed a code of conduct for political parties. The leading political parties of Kerala successfully approved the code and elections were held in a fair manner. Following the same approach in the 1962 Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission of India brought all these codes of conduct into action for all the recognized parties and the state governments, where all the parties were supposed to follow them.

In 1979, the Election Commission of India added a section in the Model Code of Conduct to avoid unnecessary and undue advantages taken by the ruling party during the elections. However, political tightness began to increase between 1979 and 1991 and the political parties began to perform corrupt activities and rely on muscle power and money during the elections. The Election Commission of India decided to implement the Model Code of Conduct in 1991 to ensure fair play in elections in India.

Provisions Under the Model Code of Conduct

Following are the 8 key provisions covered under the Model Code of Conduct

Provision

Details

General Conduct

Using caste and communal feelings to secure votes, criticising candidates on the basis of unverified reports, intimidation of voters, etc. is prohibited. Criticism of political parties must be limited to their policies, programmes, past record and works.

Election Manifestos

On July 5 2013 the Supreme Court of India directed the Election Commission to frame the election manifestos with all the political parties.

Meetings

The politician party or a candidate of the party shall inform the police station prior if he is going to hold any meeting in order to maintain the law and order and peace in the concerned area.

Processions

In order to decide the route and venue and maintain the law and order and peace in a locality of the procession the local police and concerned authorities must be informed in advance.

Observers

The Election Commission of India appoints some observers for political parties if they find any problem or issue with the code of conduct they can communicate it with the observers.

Party in Power

It is the responsibility of the party in power whether in the state or the center to ensure there is no complaint that it has used its position for taking advantage in election campaigns.

Polling Booth

Elections are a very important period help inside a polling booth apart from the voters and the officials appointed by the Election Commission of India no other person should be allowed without a valid pass.

Polling Day

The parties and the candidates of the parties should cooperate with the polling booth and avoid the distribution of any kind of gifts, liquor edibles, or any such activities outside the polling camps.

Significance of Model Code of Conduct

The existence of the Model Code of Conduct is really important to get the elections in India held in a fair manner.

  • The Model Code of Conduct specifies the conduct of the political parties and their candidates during the elections. This conduct includes activities like meetings, party functions, parties, processions, etc.
  • to maintain a level playing field for all the political parties and stakeholders in elections.
  • The Model Code of Conduct is designed to hold the elections in a smooth and peaceful environment.
  • Another major role of the model of conduct during the elections is to ensure that no malpractice of bribery, corruption, inductional voters, threatening to voters, and intermediate voters are practised.
  • It ensures that no machinery is taken into use for electoral purposes, for example, the alteration of EVM machines.

Role of Election Commission in Model Code of Conduct

As directed by the Supreme Court of India in its judgment, the Election Commission should consult with all the recognized political parties regarding the election manifesto contents. In accordance with article 324 of the Constitution, the commission is mandated to hold free and fair elections.

The Election Commission has issued certain instructions under the Model Code of Conduct to ensure equal and fair election play among the contestant parties and candidates and to maintain transparency in the election process.

The Election Commission has been strict in enforcing its enforcement over the past 10 years despite the fact that the Model Code of Conduct lacks any statutory backing. As a result of corresponding provisions in other state youths such as the Indian Penal Code 1860, Representation of People's Act 1951, and Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, certain provisions of the Model Code of Conduct may be enforced.

The standing committee on personnel public grievances and the law and Justice recommended making the Model Code of Conduct legally binding and made it part of RPA 1951. Later according to the Election Commission the elections should be conducted and completed in a period of 45 days and the long time it takes for judicial proceedings it would be difficult to make it feasible and enforceable by law.

Following are some of the major judgments related to the Model Code of Conduct

K.G. Uthayakumar v. The State

  • The court found that the accused had violated the Model Code of Conduct as he was present at the public working department in the elections.
  • Under section 171 of IPC the accused had committed a crime of violation of the election laws and under section 154 of The Criminal Procedure Code he had violated the criminal procedural laws.
  • The complaint in this matter could be filed at the police station either or to the revenue division officer along with the district magistrate.

M.V. Nikesh Kumar v. K.M. Shah Ji

  • According to the petitioner the respond approached the Muslim community for expanding its vote bank and misdirect the voters based on their religion as he was a Muslim candidate and a Party member.
  • In order to increase the number of votes cast their campaign distributed a brochure that promoted the Muslims. Thus the respondent was elected.
  • Resulting to which the respondent was to be declared culprit under the sections 100(1)(b) and 100(1)d(ii) of the Representation of people that 1951.

K.K. Ramesh v. NHRC

  • The candidate has made the flexes and ‘diyas’ for public meetings, which created big traffic congestion.
  • The court outrightly stated that the accused is liable for punishment for violating the guidelines of the Model Code of Conduct.

Constitutional and Statutory Provision of Model Code of Conduct

In the discharge of its constitutional duties to conduct free and fair elections to the Parliament and state legislatures, the Election Commission ensures that political parties in power, as well as the contesting candidates, respect the Model Code of Conduct throughout the elections.

Model Code of Conduct on General Meetings

  • It is prohibited for a party to incite any hatred or tension among the caste and community and make any disturbing statements on religious and linguistic grounds.
  • The parties are all allowed to criticize Each Other they are forbidden to criticize any incident related to the private life of other political parties apart from their political programs and policies.
  • It is strictly prohibited to criticize the party or its members on the basis of nonverified allegations.

Model Code of Conduct on Meetings

  • It is important for the party or The Party candidate to give advance notice to the local police about their meeting and location as soon as possible of the commencement.
  • If there are any restrictive or prohibitory orders in effect at the location proposed for the meeting the party or the party candidate should comply with them.
  • Parties or the party Candidate should properly inform the authorities in advance if they are using loudspeakers or any other facility like same and present the permission or license for it before the authorities.

Model Code of Conduct on Processions

  • In order for a procession to be organized the party or the party Candidate should inform the time and place of the procession to be started and the route to be followed to the local police in advance.
  • If any restrictive orders are in place in the areas through which the procession has to be passed the organizers should restrict them unless specifically exempted.
  • To ensure that the process of two different parties does not clash with each other or cause traffic congestion the organizers should take care of the roots and public to maintain the peace and carry forward the processors well within the guidance of the local police.

Model Code of Conduct UPSC

Model Code of Conduct is a very important part of Indian Polity and governance. It helps to organize the election in India in a free and fair manner. No matter how small the topic is, it is of great significance and UPSC aspirants preparing for IAS Exam and UPSC Prelims should learn this topic. For this, you can get the best UPSC Indian Polity books for reference along with the NCERT books for UPSC. You can also get the ias study material and the previous year's question paper for practice.

Model Code of Conduct UPSC Sample Prelims Question

Question: Consider the following statements and answer the question

  1. Observers are appointed by the Election Commission to conduct fair elections.
  2. The competitors are allowed to place complaints to the observers if they find any kind of unfair means during the elections.

Which one of the following is correct?

  1. Option 1 is correct and Option 2 is the explanation of 1st.
  2. Option 2 is correct but not the explanation of Option 1
  3. Option 1 is right
  4. Option 2 is right

Answer: Option A

Model Code of Conduct UPSC Notes PDF

Model Code of Conduct is a very important part of Indian Polity and governance. Students should cover the topic well in detail for the UPSC Exam.

Download Model Code of Conduct UPSC Notes PDF

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FAQs on Model Code of Conduct

  • The Model Code of Conduct is the set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission that all the political parties abide by it and are bound to respect.

  • The Election Commission of India sets the Model Code of Conduct for political parties and candidates during elections.

  • Except for the Global tenders the existing tenders are evaluated and not finalized until approved by the commission. During the elections, no new tenders can be floated without the prior permission of the Election Commission.

  • A code of conduct helps and clarifies the guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India with respect to the elections being held providing those and don't during the elections.

  • To download the Model Code of Conduct UPSC Notes PDF, click here

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