Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is a set of guidelines issued by Election Commission (EC) to regulate political parties and candidates after elections are announced. MCC has evolved with the consensus of political parties who have consented to abide by the principles but do not have legal/statutory backing.
Evolution of MCC
- 1960 – Kerala Assembly Election – MCC was issued by EC, started as a small set of Dos and Don’ts which covered conduct of election meetings/processions, speeches, slogans, posters and placards.
- 1962 Lok Sabha General Elections – EC circulated MCC to all recognized political parties and asked the State governments to ensure its observance.
- 1967 Onwards – due to large scale observance of MCC, EC issued its observance in the Parliamentary and Assembly elections.
- 1979 – EC placed more restrictions on “Party in Power” – to prevent abuse of position or undue advantage over rivals.
- 1991 – EC consolidated and re-issued MCC with seven parts
- Eight Part was added on Guidelines on Election Manifestos
Role of Election Commission
- EC in its constitutional duties under Article 324, through observance of MCC, ensures the following:
- free and fair election and avoid misuse of election machinery
- level playing field for ruling and opposition to present their policies and programmes
- prevent offences, malpractices and corrupt practices
Concerns on Implementation of MCC
- Lack of statutory powers of EC to act against non-observance
- Lack of legal enforcement increases non-compliance.
- Regulating Fake News and Hate Speech at election rallies.
- Mere warnings by EC lacks deterrent effect
- Regulating political advertisements on digital and social media by political proxies.
Despite the concerns, consensus-based observance of MCC and its regulation by the EC has provided the moral authority to EC to conduct free, fair and transparent elections in India.