The Election Commission of India on September 27, 2018 announced that the Model Code of Conduct will be applicable to the caretaker government till the formation of new government, in case of premature dissolution of state assembly.
The poll panel cited the Supreme Court verdict in the SR Bommai case that the caretaker government should merely carry on day-to-day governance and desist from taking any policy decisions.
Until now, the model code of conduct was applicable only with announcement of poll schedule by the Election Commission.
What is Model Code of Conduct?
The Model Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines released by the Election Commission of India to conduct free and fair elections in the country.
These guidelines lay out the instructions to be followed by both candidates and political parties contesting elections. These instructions on campaigning, general conduct and meetings remain effective till the entire elections process is not completed.
Highlights of the directions
• In cases of premature dissolution of legislative assembly, the model code of conduct shall come into operation with immediate effect and continue to remain in force till completion of the election to constitute the new assembly.
• These provisions of the Part-VII of Model Code of Conduct shall apply on the caretaker state government as well as on the Central Government. Para-VII lays down boundaries for the party in power and defines boundaries for conduct of government in the poll-bound state regarding policy decisions.
• As per the directions, neither the caretaker state government nor the Union Government will announce any new schemes and projects or undertake any of the activities prohibited under the Model Code of Conduct.
• All other prohibitions including the use of resources for any non-official purposes and combining of an official visit with electioneering work will apply on all ministers and other authorities of the caretaker state government, the Central government as well as governments of other States.
• The poll panel also cited earlier Supreme Court's order that the caretaker government should merely carry on the day-to-day government and desist from taking any major policy decision.
Directions will have impact on poll-bound Telangana
This significant order will have an immediate impact in poll-bound Telangana.
The Telangana Cabinet on September 6, 2018 passed a resolution calling for the dissolution of the Telangana Legislative Assembly. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao convened the meeting of his Council of Ministers to dissolve the Legislative Assembly and seek fresh elections, six months ahead of schedule.
Telangana Governor ESL Narasimhan accepted the recommendation of the Telangana cabinet, however, asked Rao and his council of ministers to continue as the caretaker government.
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