SC told EC is 'toothless' on hate speech
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine statements made by political leaders violative of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) after the Election Commission admitted it was "toothless" and "powerless" vis-a-vis hate speeches made during the election campaign.
 
The court will take up the matter at 10.30 a.m. on Tuesday, saying it wants to examine the scope of powers of the Election Commission.
 
Speeches by BSP chief Mayawati, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and others were cited as violations of the MCC.
 
The Election Commission told the court that it can merely issue notice, then an advisory and lodge a criminal complaint in the case of repeated violations. 
 
The counsel for the poll body said it was "toothless" and "powerless" against hate and religious speeches made during the election campaign. 
 
The apex court said then it was appropriate to examine the scope of powers of the poll panel which is also a constitutional body.
 
The EC counsel informed the court that it had already sought reply from Mayawati to furnish a reply regarding her election speech seeking votes on the basis of religion. Mayawati was supposed to reply by April 12 but the EC was yet to get it.
 
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked: "What do you propose to do?"
 
The EC counsel replied that it does not have the power to de-recognise or disqualify the person and it can only send advisories. And if the candidate continues to to violate the MCC, then it can file a compliant.
 
The Supreme Court directed the Election Commission official to be present in court on Tuesday.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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Veterans’ Concerns for a Secular Military is Neither News nor fake!
A group of over 150 Indian military Veterans wrote a letter to the President of India in his capacity as Supreme Commander of India’s Armed Forces, expressing their serious concern at the recent rather blatant use by politicians of different parties, of the military, military uniforms or symbols, and actions by military formations or personnel, in their election campaigns. 
 
The Veterans’ concern was that such misuse might affect the secular character of the armed forces, which, as is well known, is Government of India’s instrument of last resort for both internal and external security. India’s armed forces have been effective in the service of the nation largely because of its a-political character and its control under the civil authority. Thus, politicisation of the armed forces could reflect adversely on national security. 
 
However, two former service chiefs and a former vice-chief of army staff, informed the media that they had not endorsed the letter and their permission to add their names as signatories had not been taken. The letter to the President was also termed ‘fake news’ by a senior minister of the central government. 
 
This writer had meticulously recorded the email responses of Veterans who had endorsed the letter to the President, in the time-sequence of their receipt, and the responses of all three senior Veterans who had denied having endorsed the letter are on record. Some of these are already in the public domain. 
 
As regards the regrettable comment of this letter being “fake news”, it is necessary to state that the letter is neither news nor is it fake. The letter is an appeal to the President of India to uphold the a-political character of the Armed Forces, of which he is the supreme commander. 
 
Those who have denied having endorsed it possibly had second thoughts after having endorsed it like any good soldier would have done. Speaking of good soldiers and politics, it is apt to quote the advice of Field Marshal Philip Chetwode to the first batch of Indian cadets, when he inaugurated the Indian Military Academy at Dehra Dun in 1932. 
 
He spoke thus: The young Indian man of education seems very attracted by politics. May I urge you to remember that politics do and cannot find any place in army life. An army can have no place in politics. It is the paid servant of the people and is at the disposal of the Government of the day, whatever may be the political complexion of that Government. Once there is any suspicion that an Army, or any part of it, is biased politically, from that moment that Army has lost the confidence of the nation that pays for it. It is no longer impartial, and that way lies chaos and  civil war”. 
 
Notwithstanding the controversy created by three very senior Veterans denying that they endorsed the letter to the President, the fact is that the content of the letter remains the view of Veterans who endorsed it. Indeed, there are other Veterans who have called in asking why they were not given opportunity to endorse the letter. This writer invites them to send in their endorsements to the letter and its contents, since opinion on such a matter is not time-bound. 
 
 
(Maj Gen SG Vombatkere (retd) was commissioned as an officer into the Corps of Engineers (Madras Sappers) in 1962. In 1993, President of India awarded him the Vishishta Seva Medal (VSM) for distinguished services rendered during military service in the cold, high altitude region of Ladakh. He retired from active service in 1996 in the rank of Major General.) 
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Electoral bonds remain, submit details by May 30: SC interim order
The Supreme Court on Friday in an interim order refused to stay the Electoral bonds scheme of the government and put up the matter for final disposal later.
 
The court said Electoral bonds will continue, and asked parties to submit details of donations to Election Commission by May 30.
 
The apex court was passing the order on the legality of the electoral bonds after completing hearing arguments of the Centre and petitioners earlier. 
 
Petitioners have moved the court seeking either the stay on the scheme or some other transparent alternative for funding of political parties.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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