A great lacuna in the Constitution has come up that the Constitution has given the full responsibility to conduct free and fair elections in the country but has not provided any specific powers to conduct it.
Irked over the galore of violation of the Election Commission Moral code of conduct and hate speeches in the election campaign and unethical conduct by the parties, leaders and candidates, the Supreme Court angrily asked the Election Commission of India why it was not acting promptly and decisively against the parties and leaders.
The Commission informed the Supreme Court it has no power to de-recognize a party or debar a candidate from the contest. It has only power to issue notice and seek reply At the most it can file a case (FIR) against violators.
Encouraged by the observations and chiding by the Supreme Court the Commission took action against four prominent persons including Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath to put a ban of 72 hour on him to ‘Shut up’ and not to campaign for that period.
The 72 hour ban also imposed on Azam Khan the SP-BSP candidate in Rampur in UP and 48 hour ban on Mayavati of Bahujan Samaj Party and Maneka Gandhi the BJP candidate at Sultanpur. Mayavati approached Supreme Court against the Commission action against her. The Court snubbed her saying that the Commission action against her was absolutely correct.
There are opinions even that of former Chief Election Commissioner Mr.OP Rawat that under the responsibility given by the Constitution of India the Commission to conduct free and fair election the Commission inherits enough powers automatically to proceed against the poll offenders.
But one thing is certain there is no procedure laid down for the commission as how to proceed and what type of punishment the Commission pronounce in the cases.
On triple talaq the Supreme Court declaring it unconstitutional directed the Government to enact a law to declare it as crime or offence and punishment and action.
Now the Supreme Court has seized the matter regarding the powers of the Commission it appears that new Act would be enacted specifying poll offences and power of the Commission to deal with it.