Model Code of Conduct for the Guidance of Political Parties and Candidates


I. General Conduct

(1) No party or candidate shall indulge in any activity which may aggravate existing difference or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic.

(2) Criticism of other political parties, when made, shall be confined to their policies and programme, past record and work. Parties and candidates shall refrain from criticism of all aspects of private life, not connected with the public activities of the leaders or workers of other parties. Criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations or on distortion shall be avoided.

(3) There shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes. Mosques, Churches, Temples or other places of worship shall not be used as forum for election propaganda.

(4) All parties and candidates shall avoid scrupulously all activities which are "corrupt practices" and offences under the election law, such as the bribing of voters, intimidation of voters, personation of voters, canvassing within 100 meters of a polling station, holding public meetings during the period of 48 hours before the commencement of the poll for both Rural and Urban Local bodies elections, and the transport and conveyance of voters to and from polling station.

(5) The right of every individual for peaceful and undisturbed home life shall be respected, however much the political parties or candidates may resent his political opinions or activities. Organising demonstration or picketing before the houses of individuals by way of protesting against their opinions or activities shall not be resorted to under any circumstances.

(6) No political party or candidate shall permit its or his followers to make use of any individual's land, building, compound wall, etc, without his permission for erecting flag - staffs, suspending banners, pasting notices, writing slogans, etc,.

(7) Political parties and candidates shall ensure that their supporters do not create obstructions in or break up meetings and processions organised by the other parties. Workers or sympathisers of one political party shall not create disturbances at public meetings organised by another political party by putting questions orally or in writing or by distributing leaflets of their own party. Processions shall not be taken out by one party along places at which meeting are being held by another party. Posters issued by one party shall not be removed by workers of another party.

II. Meetings

(1) The party or candidate shall inform the local police authorities of the venue and time of any proposed meeting well in time so as to enable the police to make necessary arrangements for controlling traffic and maintaining peace and order.

(2) A party or candidate shall ascertain in advance if there are any restrictive or prohibitory orders in force in the place proposed for the meeting. If such orders exist, they shall be followed strictly. If any exemption is required from such orders it shall be applied for and obtained well in time.

(3) If permission of license is to be obtained for the use of loud speakers or any other facility in connection with any proposed meeting, the party or candidate shall apply to the authority concerned well in advance and obtain such permission or license.

(4) Organisers of a meeting shall invariably seek the assistance of the police on duty for dealing with persons disturbing a meeting or otherwise attempting to create disorder. Organisers themselves shall not take action against such persons.

III. Processions.

(1) A party or candidate organising a procession shall decide before hand the time and place of the starting of procession, the route to be followed and time and place at which the procession will terminate. There shall ordinarily be no deviation from the programme.

(2) The organisers shall give advance intimation to the local police authorities of the programme so as to enable the latter to make necessary arrangements.

(3) The organisers shall ascertain if any restrictive orders are in force in the localities through which the procession has to pass, and shall comply with the restrictions unless exempted specially by competent authority. Any traffic regulations or restrictions shall also be carefully adhered to.

(4) The organisers shall take steps in advance to arrange for passage of the procession so that there is no block or hindrance to traffic. If the procession is very long, it shall be organised in segments of suitable lengths, so that at convenient intervals, especially at points where the procession has to pass road junctions, the passage of heldup traffic could be allowed by stages thus avoiding heavy traffic congestion.

(5) Procession shall be so regulated as to keep as much to the right of the road as possible and the direction and advice of the police on duty shall be strictly complied with.

(6) If two or more political parties or candidates propose to take procession over the same route or parts thereof at about the same time, the organisers shall establish contact well in advance and decide upon the measure to be taken to see that the processions do not clash or cause hindrance to traffic. The assistance of the local police shall be availed of for arriving at a satisfactory arrangement. For this purpose, the parties shall contact the police at the earliest opportunity.

(7) The political parties or candidates shall exercise control to the maximum extent possible in the matter of processionists carrying articles which may be put to misuse by undesirable elements, especially in moments of excitement.

(8) The carrying of effigies purporting to represent members of other political parties or their leaders, burning such effigies in public and such other forms of demonstration shall not be countananced by any political party or candidate.

IV. Polling Day

All political parties and candidates shall -

(i) Co-operate with the officers on election duty to ensure peaceful and orderly polling and complete freedom to the voters to exercise their Franchise without being subjected to any annoyance or obstruction;

(ii) supply to their authorised workers suitable badges or identity cards;

(iii) agree that the identity slips supplied by them to voters shall be on plain (white) papers and shall not contain any symbol, name of the candidate or the name of the party;

(iv) refrain from serving or distributing liquor on polling day and during the twenty - four hours preceeding it;

(v) not allow unnecessary crowds to be collected near the camps set up by the political parties and candidates near the polling booths so as to avoid confrontation and tension among workers and sympathisers of the parties and candidate;

(vi) ensure that the candidate's camps shall be simple-They shall not display any posters, flags, symbols or any other propaganda material. No eatables shall be served or crowds allowed at the camps; and

(vii) Co-operate with the authorities in complying with the restrictions to be imposed on the plying of vehicles on the polling day and obtain permits for them which should be displayed prominently on those vehicles

V. Polling Booth

Excepting the voters, no one without valid pass from the Deputy Commissioner/the State Election Commission shall enter the polling booths.

VI. Party in Power

The party in power shall ensure that no cause is given for any complaint that it has used its official position for the purposes of its election campaign, and in particular-

(i)(a) the Ministers shall not combine their official visit with electioneering work and shall not also make use of official machinery or personnel during electioneering work;

(b) govt. transport and personnel shall not be used for furtherance of the interest of the party in power;

(ii) public places such as maidans etc., for holding election meetings, shall not be monopolised by itself. Other parties and candidates shall be allowed the use of such places and facility on the same terms and conditions on which they are used by the party in power;

(iii) rest houses, dak bungalows or the Government accommodation shall not be monopolised by the party in power or its candidates and such accommodation shall be allowed to be used by other parties and candidates in a fair manner but no party or candidate shall use or be allowed to use such accommodation (including premises appertaining thereto) as a campaign office or for holding any public meeting for the purposes of election propaganda;

(iv) issue of advertisement at the cost of public exchequer in the news papers and other media and the misuses of official mass media during the election period for partisan coverage of political news and publicity regarding achievements with a view to furthering the prospects of the Party in Power shall be scrupulously avoided.

(v) ministers and other authorities shall not sanction grants/payments out of discretionary funds from the time elections are announced by the Commission, and

(vi) from the time the elections are announced by the Commission, Ministers and other authorities shall not--

(a) announce any financial grants in any form or promises thereof; or

(b) lay foundation stones etc. of projects or schemes of any kind; or

(c) make any promise of construction of roads, provision of drinking water facilities etc,

(d) make adhoc appointments in Government, Public Undertaking etc;

which may have effect of influencing the voters in favour of the party in power.

(vii) ministers shall not enter any polling station or place of counting except in their capacity as a candidate or voter or authorised agents.

The paras above contain only broad guidelines. The State Election Commission would be issuing Orders, Directions and Suggestions for the purpose of strict observance of the Code of Conduct.

The code of conduct will come into force from the date of announcement of Poll dates or any specific date as prescribed by the State Election Commission and will be in force till the completion of election process.