Exclusive: Complaint filed against Goa Church’s magazine for violating the Representation of People’s Act 1951

Erstwhile Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar who took charge as the Chief Minister of Goa after the Assembly Elections in April was contesting the Panjim by-poll in Goa on 23rd August.

Leading up to the elections we had reported how a magazine named Renowakao, which is run by a Panjim church Bishop’s House had carried an article, which had openly called for people to vote against Manohar Parrikar. The article written by a local lawyer had compared the current NDA government to the Nazi regime in Germany. Further it had alleged that a situation of a constitutional holocaust had developed in the country and in order to reign in this ‘tyranny’ one should vote against Parrikar.

This alleged ‘trick’ by the church didn’t work and Parrikar won the seat by a comfortable margin of 4,803 votes. Now this act by the magazine had caught the attention of Legal Rights Observatory, an activists group.

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This group had famously filed a legal complaint against Rajdeep Sardesai for inviting an alleged Naxal sympathiser on his show and had also filed a case against the NDTV for allegedly calling Arunachal Pradesh a “disputed territory”. Their activism had also made them enemies. They had claimed that a “death warrant” has been issued against their members by Maoists. This they claimed was a result of them filing numerous cases against ‘Urban Naxals’ in the recent past.

This group has now made a written complaint to the Goa State Election Commissioner against that particular article in the Catholic Bishop’s magazine. The letter dated 5th September claimed that this appeal to defeat Manohar Parrikar was a serious violation of model code of conduct under the representation of People’s Act 1951 and thereby invites stringent action against the publishers of the magazine.

The letter further claimed that the Church is a powerful force in Goa and that they suspected that the article was a case of paid news and asked the Election Commissioner to investigate the same. It also asked the Commissioner to involve appropriate government departments in order to check whether there was any financial transaction between the magazine management and rival political parties regarding the matter.

The activist group also claimed that it had requested the Goa and Daman Archdiocese for a copy of that particular magazine issue but they had allegedly refused the same due to fear of legal repercussions. They also stated that if the Goa State Election Commission failed to take appropriate action, they would approach legal authorities to seek justice against both the magazine and the State Election Commission.

You can read the full copy of the complaint below:

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