The Election Commission of India has found no infringement of Model Code of Conduct in PM Modi’s announcement of a successful test of ASAT missile that placed India in the coveted list of countries possessing the anti-satellite capability.
Responding to a complaint filed by Communist leader Sitaram Yechury, the election commission said that Modi’s speech did not attract the provisions of model code of conduct. EC had constituted a Committee of Officers to look into the accusations that Modi had violated the MCC.
Looking into the matter, the committee concluded that “the MCC provision regarding misuse of official mass media as contained in Para (IV) of Part (VII) of Model Code of Conduct, quoted above, is not attracted in the instant case”. The Election Commission accepted the conclusion of the committee, thereby giving a clean chit to Modi.
Checking whether the prime minister misused state broadcasters Doordarshan and All India Radio, the committee found that the speech was not directly broadcasted by them. They were informed that Doordarshan had used a feed provided by ANI, and AIR has used the audio from DD News. DG of DD submitted that Doordarshan subscribes to visuals of news event from News Agency ANI under an arrangement that is continuing for long time. DD broadcasted the video as received from ANI, and it was not directly captured and broadcasted by Doordarshan, the DG asserted
The DG of AIR also stated nobody from AIR went to record the speech of Modi, and they used audio signal from the telecast of the speech by DD News.
After studying the transcript of the speech of PM Modi and the responses of DD and AIR, the committee concluded that the model code of conduct not violated.
It may be noted that as state broadcasters, DD and AIR need to obtain prior permission from EC before broadcasting any message by politicians and ministers. But in this instance, PM Modi’s speech was not directly covered by DD and AIR. The speech was essentially broadcasted online by ANI, from where TV channels transmitted the feed. DD and AIR also had borrowed the feed from ANI, hence there was no requirement for them to seek EC’s permission before broadcasting the same.
The Election Commission had sought details after clamour from the opposition political parties regarding the violation of Model Code of Conduct grew as the announcement was made by the PM. The Model Code of Conduct is in force since March 10, 2019, when the Election Commission had announced the dates and other details of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The letter of EC and the report of the committee has been provided below.