“Selective memory loss”: EC refutes ex-CEC Quraishi on the treatment of hate speech India News

NEW DELHI: In a rare battle of words between the election commission and a former election commissioner who questioned the opinion poll because she had not asked FIRs for hate speech in recent polls in Delhi, the ex-CEC watchdog accused SY Quraishi of “selective amnesia,” emphasizing that none of the model code breach cases that he himself had treated as CEC resulted in FIRs.
Quraishi, who led EC from 2010 to 2012, had, in an opinion paper published in a newspaper on February 8, 2020, wondered why EC had stopped filing FIRs against Union minister Anurag Thakur and BJP MP Parvesh Verma under Representation of the People Act (RP Act) or Article 153 of the IPC for hate speech, despite the fact that they have been “found guilty of punishable offenses” under Articles 123 and 125 of the RP Act. However, he appreciated EC’s decision to drop the two of BJP’s list of star campaigners and temporarily prohibit them from campaigning.
In a response to Quraishi on February 13, 2020 – a copy of which is with TOI – Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Saxena has recorded each of the procedures for violating the model code that were performed during Quraishi’s own term. “It would appear from the attached list that the Commission at the time did not take any action under Articles 123 and 125 of IP Act 1951/153 of IPC 1860,” he noted.
“It’s quite ironic how far selective memory loss can mislead the readers’, it was further explained.
EC quoted the nine announcements about the cause that were issued in elections held between July 30, 2010 and June 10, 2012, coinciding with the term of Quraishi. While five announcements were issued in 2012 UP poll, three in 2011 West Bengal poll, two in 2011 Tamil Nadu poll and one in 2010 Bihar poll. As per the final outcome of these cases, advice was issued in five, warning issued in two and the remaining two cases closed. In none of the cases have instructions been given to submit FIR.
During the relevant polls in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand no code code notifications were issued during the relevant period.
Referring to the then Minister of Justice Salman Khurshid for announcing a reservation of 9% for minorities within 27% OBC quota during the UP poll, EC recalled that he was subsequently censored. Khurshid later repeated the announcement, after which EC wrote to the president asking for his intervention. Khurshid finally regretted his statements for EC, after which he decided not to take any further action.
EC also sent a notification to SP Mishra of BSP in 2012 for his repeated references to the political combination of Dalit-Brahmin. Although Mishra did not reply, EC considered a mild position and only hoped that Mishra would be more cautious in the future. Another notification went to former Foreign Minister Beni Prasad Verma for making promises to Muslims, but after regretting the same thing, the EC did not push for further action. Even then, Union minister Sri Prakash Jaiswal received an EC notification for threatening the government in UP. Jaiswal claimed that his statement was distorted and the EC concluded that there was no intimidation of votes.
In the West Bengal poll in 2011, CPM’s Anil Basu obscene had made comments against Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee. EC has only expressed his serious displeasure and warned him to be more careful in the future.
During the 2010 Bihar survey, EC informed JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav of his personal attack on Rahul Gandhi, only to advise him to be more careful in the future. The complaint about a personal attack by DMK leader MK Stalin on Jayalalitha during the Tamil Nadu poll was also closed by the EC.
Saxena informed Quraishi on Thursday of EC’s plans to publish a compilation of actions taken against model code violators during assembly elections and Parliament over the last 20 years.

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