NEW DELHI (TIP): The Election Commission on May 7 issued a show-cause notice to Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut for his April 12 remark that Muslims should be stripped of voting rights.
The poll panel said his comment, made in an editorial published in Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamna, prima facie violated the model code of conduct in force then for the by-poll in Vandre East and Tasgaon Kavathe Mahankali assembly constituencies of Maharashtra.
Raut has been asked to file his reply to the show-cause notice by 1 pm on May 11.
According to the commission, his remark suggesting that Muslims should be disenfranchised prima facie violated sub para (1) of Para 1 of the poll code, which restrains party leaders and candidates from making communal appeals and statements that can create mutual hatred, and sub-para 4 of Para 1, which debars “corrupt practices” and offences under the election law.
The EC notice cited Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act, which recognises promoting enmity between classes in connecting with an election as an electoral offence, as well as Section 153A of the IPC (creating communal hatred).
The EC action follows a complaint filed by Shakeel Qureshi of Pune on April 16, in which he demanded that the recognition of Shiv Sena as a state party be cancelled.
According to a report sent to the EC by the Maharashtra chief electoral officer on April 20, Raut, in the April 12 editorial, had said: “The day Muslims’ voting rights are taken away, the mask of all secularists will fall off. That will reveal (Asaduddin) Owaisi’s sensitivity towards Muslims destitution and Muslims themselves should take lead in this. This decision should not be political but a national decision”.