10, May 2023 | CJP Team
Two complaints filed by Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), one on Monday and another on Tuesday, to the State Election Commission (SEC), Karnataka and the state DGP (Director General of Police) have been forwarded to district officers of the election commission for strict compliance within 24 hours.
The first complaint was against suspended BJP MLA, T Raja Singh and the second dealt with two offending speeches of party functionaries, BJP MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal and BJP leader and former MLA Ayanur Manjunath. Detailing the offensive comments, the complaints point out to the state election commission authorities as well as the state DGP how the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) has been violated . The MCC became applicable in Karnataka from March 29 and since then 3-4 incidents of hate speech have come to the fore.
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In swift dual actions, the Complaint Monitoring Cell of the Office of Chief Electoral officer, Karnataka has forwarded CJP’s complaint to the District Election Officer of Shimoga and Dharwad for an inquiry and has sought Action Taken Report (ATR) within 24 hours.
The hate speech delivered by T Raja Singh was sent in a separate complaint considering the history of Raja Singh, a suspended BJP MLA from Hyderabad as a repeated and relentless hate offender on Monday May 8. In his speeches, given at two separate events, the speaker has made misinformed and offensive claims against the minority community, made religiously derogatory and communal statements. T. Raja Singh has a history of stigmatizing and dehumanizing the minority community apart from spreading communal disharmony by targeting the Muslim community. The complaint against Raja Singh has also been forwarded for inquiry and ATR sought within 24 hours from district election office, Gulbarga,
On May 2 a video surfaced of BJP MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal making a speech in Kannada whereby he says that if somebody speaks about Hindus/India, that person will be shot. He also said that if BJP comes to power again in Karnataka, there will be direct (and swift) encounters (extra judicial killings) out on the road and no imprisonment for such crimes. Further, on April 3, a video surfaced online where BJP leader and former MLA Ayanur Manjunath warned Muslims, Hindus as well as Shivamogga Police to be careful as anything could happen before the elections. This was the subject matter of another complaint on May 9.
CJP has pointed out the sections of the MCC that stand to be violated as well as provisions of the Representation of People’s Act and the Indian Penal Code as well. The MCC clearly states, among other things, that “(1) No party or candidate shall include in any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic.”
There is also a provision that prohibits party persons from intimidating voters. In Abhiram Singh v. C.D. Commachen (Civil Appeal No. 37 of 1992; decided on January 2, 2017), a 7-judge bench decided that electoral appeals to voters based on their religion is a “corrupt practice” and Justice TS Thakur in a concurring judgement had said, “Suffice it to say that the Constitutional ethos forbids mixing of religions or religious considerations with the secular functions of the State.”
CJP, in its complaint also detailed the April 2019 judgement of the Supreme Court had pulled up the Election Commission for not taking action against hate speech on religious lines during election rallies.
“Those who make hate speech during election campaigns intend to divide voters on communal lines and this is neither desirable nor favourable for a culturally and communally vibrant and diverse country like ours where our courts and statutory as well as constitutional bodies have upheld constitutional values and strive to uphold democracy in its truest sense. While keeping this in mind, we humbly urge the Commission that is the sole body responsible for free and fair elections in our thriving democracy, to do all that it can in its powers to deter such instances of hate speech by political parties and deal with them with an iron hand,” the complaint states.
The complaint may be read here: