The Varun controversy: Could the E.C. have done more?

The use of National Security Act against Varun Gandhi by the Uttar Pradesh Government has been criticised even by those who defended the E.C.’s strictures against him, for his hate speech. On the contrary, there are those who feel that the NSA’s use is justified, in view of the explosive situation that his speech has led to. I would like to reserve my comments, especially because the Supreme Court is seized of the matter.

But should the E.C. have done more on his matter? Does it have the powers? When I discussed the text of the E.C.’s March 22 order on Varun Gandhi with Mr.Shanti Bhushan, he was more convinced than me that the E.C. ought to take further steps, as the BJP refuses to abide by its order. More important, Mr.Shanti Bhushan views the March 22 order as both an advisory and a binding directive. And he also believes that Section 29A of RPA empowers the E.C. to cancel the registration of political parties, if they blatantly violate the requirements of registration. Read my story on this and my interview with him here and here. My story includes a brief response to my query on E.C.’s powers from the Chief Election Commissioner. Needless to say, the CEC Mr.N.Gopalaswami disagrees with our understanding of the Order.

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