NEW DELHI: The meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on corruption cautiously side-stepped the controversial proposal of giving statutory provision to the Model Code of Conduct.
Any such move would have dented the Election Commission’s enforcing and arbitration powers, vis-a-vis the model code.
The MCC, which came into existence as part of an agreement among the political parties, was recognised as a voluntary compact instrumental in the conduct of free and fair election, by the Supreme Court in 2001. The apex court had ruled that the Election Commission can impose the MCC at the point of announcing any elections. But the period can never exceed three weeks.
With polls and bypolls taking place round the year, various ministries have been egging on the government to take steps to curtail the role of model code on issues of governance. When the GoM finally met on Wednesday, the issue was dropped.
With the BJP, launching a scathing attack, the government had little option but deny such a move. The Home Ministry issued a formal denial. After the meeting, Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy said, “The MCC was not taken up today in the deliberations.”
However, an agenda paper circulated to ministers prior to the meeting shows that the issue was very much on the government’s mind.