Supreme Court on Monday, has stayed the order issued by the Election Commission for the revocation of Congress Leader Kamal Nath’s star campaigner status. EC issued the directions citing repeated violation of Model Code of Conduct by Kamal Nath during the campaign for the by-polls in 28 assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh.
“We are staying the Election Commission’s order and the EC has no power. Who has given power to you (the Election Commission) to remove a candidate from the star campaigner list? It is you or a leader of the party?” CJI S A Bobde said.
CJI Bobde further asked the poll body, “Where does EC have the power to determine who will be the leader of a party under Section 77 of Representation of People Act?”
The decision came following a plea filed by former CM. On October 30, Election Commission has revoked the star campaigner status of Congress leader Kamal Nath for his controversial remarks. During a rally in Dabra, the leader said that the Congress candidate is a simple man, unlike his opponent who is an ‘item’. He had called BJP’s cabinet minister Imarti Devi an ‘item’.
Senior Counsel Rakesh Dwivedi appearing for Election Commission, submitted before the court that the matter has become infructuous as the campaigning has already ended and the by-polls are due on November 3.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal told the court that former CM was not heard on the issue. “No notice was issued to us and this was arbitrary,” added advocate Sibal.
In addition to the request made for quashing the EC’s October 30 order, Kamal Nath also sought directions in order to frame appropriate guidelines campaigning speeches by star campaigners or campaigners keeping in mind the right to freedom of speech and expression and concept of democratic elections.