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

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Model Code of Conduct(MCC) is a set of rules and regulations which are issued by the Election Commission of India for the candidates and political parties during elections. The Model Code of Conduct covers 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.

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 of India.

Model Code of Conduct Notes

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.

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 Models 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 all Types of 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, criticizing candidates on the basis of unverified reports, intimidating voters, etc., is prohibited. Criticism of political parties must be limited to their policies, programs, 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(Prprovisions under Model Code of Conduct) The politician party or a candidate of the party shall inform the police station prior to if he is going to hold any meeting in order to maintain law and order and peace in the concerned area.
Processions In order to decide the route and venue and maintain law and order and peace in the 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 (Prprovisions under Model Code of Conduct) 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(MCC) 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, threats to voters, and intermediate voters are practiced.
  • 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.

Legal Enforcement of Model Code of Conduct

The Election Commission of India 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.

Related Judgments related to Model Code of Conduct

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 respondent 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 Muslims. Thus the respondent was elected.
  • Resulting to which the respondent was to be declared culprit under 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.
  • Under the Model Code of Conduct, 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 the 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.
  • As per the Model Code of Conduct, 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. UPSC aspirants preparing for UPSC Exam must have an in-depth study of the Model Code of Conduct to answer all the questions asked in this section. Apart from this Model Code of Conduct UPSC Notes candidates can refer to the best UPSC Indian Polity Books, along with the NCERT Books for UPSC. You can also glance through the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers to know the types of questions asked on this topic in the UPSC exam.

Model Code of Conduct UPSC Questions

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

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