A day after it pulled up the Election Commission (EC) for not acting against leaders for hate speeches, the Supreme Court on Tuesday took note of the poll panel's action against four leaders of different parties for violating the poll code, saying "it seems EC has woken up to its power".
The commission had, on Monday, barred Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan from election campaigning for 72 hours for violating the model code of conduct (MCC). BSP chief Mayawati and Union Minister Maneka Gandhi were ordered not to campaign for 48 hours for the same offence.
The Bench, which also comprised Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, observed that no further order was required after EC's action and asked the petitioner to mention the case in future if required.
The court also refused to consider Mayawati's plea against EC's ban to address public rallies for 48 hours.
Hearing a PIL filed by NRI Harpreet Mansukhani seeking strict action leaders for making comments on religion and caste, the top court on Monday expressed serious displeasure after the poll panel conveyed that it had limited power to act against leaders like Mayawati and Yogi Adityanath, who made statements along religious lines.
EC had told the Bench that it can merely issue notice, an advisory and then lodge a criminal complaint on repeated MCC violations. It had also submitted before the Bench that notices were issued on a speech made by Mayawati asking Muslims to vote and Yogi Adityanath on 'Ali-Bajrang Bali'.
During Monday hearing, the EC informed the court that it had issued three notices and the first notice was against Adityanath, which has been closed. The second notice was against Mayawati, which she was to reply by April 12 but she has not replied yet, the EC said.
The court had asked the EC about the actions taken after Mayawati did not reply and directed to take immediate action on the matter.
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