ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA
NirvachanSadan, Ashoka Road,
New Delhi – 110001
Dated: 16th March, 2019
President/Chairperson/General Secretary of all Recognized National/State political parties.
Subject:- Inclusion of period of release of manifesto in the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) – regarding.
I am directed to refer to the Commission’s letters of even number dated 22.01.2019 and 09,02.20L9, whereby a proposal to fix a timeline, by way of an outer time limit for the release of manifesto by the Political Parties in an election was forwarded to all recognized National and State Political Parties with a request to offer their comments on the same. Having considered the suggestions/comments received from the political parties, the Commission has fixed a timeline for the release of manifesto by the political parties which has now been included as para-no. 4 under Part-VIII [Guidelines on Election Manifestos in the Model Code of Conduct, as under:-
“4. Prohibitory period of Release of Manifesto during elections(s)
i. In case of single phase election, manifesto shall not be released during the
prohibitory period, as prescribed under Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
In case of multi-phase elections, manifesto shall not be released
during the prohibitory periods, as prescribed under Section 126 of the
Representation of the People Act, 1951, of all the phases of those
2. This provision will, henceforth, be
applicable and implemented as a part of the Model Code of Conduct for
all future elections.
3. A copy of the full text of the
“Model Code of Conduct for the Guidance of Political Parties and
Candidates” including para 4 in Part- VIII is enclosed for your
4. You are requested to bring this to the notice of all concerned for their information and compliance.
(NARENDRA M BUTOLTA)
Copy to CEOs of all States/UTs for information and necessary action.
ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA
MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT FOR THE GUIDANCE OF POLITICAL PARTIES AND CANDIDATES
I. General Conduct
(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.
(2) Criticism of other political parties, when made, shall be confined to their
and programme, past record and work. Parties and Candidates shall
refrain from criticism of all aspects of private life, not connected
with the public activities of the leaders or workers of other parties.
Criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified
allegations or distortion shall be avoided.
shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes.
Mosques, Churches, Temples or other places of worship shall not be used
as forum for election propaganda.
(4) All parties and
candidates shall avoid scrupulously all activities which are “corrupt
practices” and offences under the election law, such as bribing of
voters, intimidation of voters, impersonation of voters, canvassing
within 100 meters of polling stations, holding public meetings during
the period of 48 hours ending r,vitli the holrr fixed for the close of
tlre poll, and the transport and convevance of .”‘oters to and from
(5) The right of every individual for
peaceful and undisturbeci home-lil’e shall be respected, however much
the political parties or candidates may resent his political opinions or
activities. Organizing demonstrations or picketing before the houses of
individuals by way of protesting against their opinions or activities
sirail not lle resorted lo under any circunistances.
No political pafty or candidate shall pennit its or his followers to
make use of any individual’s land, building, compound wall etc.,
withor”rt his permission for erecting flag-staffs, suspending banners,
pasting notices, writing slogans etc.
(7) Political parties and candidates shall ensure that their supporters do not
obstructions in or break up meetings and processions organized by other
parties. Workers or sympathisers of one political party shall not
create disturbances at public meetings organized by another political
party by putting questions orally or in writing or by distributing
leaflets of their own party. Processions shall not be taken out by one
party along places at which meetings are held by another party. posters
issued by one party shall not be removed by workers of another parry.
The party or candidate shall inform the local police authorities of the
venue and time any proposed meeting Well in time so as to enable the
police to make necessary arrangements for controlling traffic and
maintaining peace and order,
(2) A Party or candidate
shal] ascertain in advance if there is any restrictive or prohibitory
order in force in the place proposed for the meeting if such orders
exist, they shall be followed strictly. If any exemption is required
from such orders, it shall be applied for and obtained well in time.
If permission or license is to be obtained for the use of loudspeakers
or any other facility in connection with any proposed meeting, the party
or candidate shall apply to the authority concerned well in advance and
obtain such permission or license.
(4) 0rganizers of a
meeting shal] invariably seek the assistance of the police on duty for
dealing with persons disturbing a meeting or otherwise attempting to
create disorder. organizers themselves shall not take action against
(1) A Party or
candidate organizing a procession shall decide before hand the time and
place of the starting of the procession, the route to be followed and
the time and place at which the procession will terminate. There shall
ordinary be no deviation from the programme.
organizers shall give advance intimation to the local police authorities
of the programme so as to enable the letter to make necessary
(3) The organizers shall ascertain if any restrictive orders are in force in the
through which the procession has to pass, anci shall cornply wjtir the
restrictions unless exempted specially by the competent authority, Any
traffic regulations or restrictions shall also tre carefully adhered to.
(4) The organizers shall take steps in advance to arrange for passage of tile
so that there is no clock or hindrance to traffic. If the procession is
very long, it shall ‘be organized in segments of suitable lengths, so
that at convenient intervals, especially at poillts where the procession
has to pass road junctions, the passage of held up traffic could be
allowed by stages lhus avoiding heavy traffic congestion.
processionals shall be so regulated as to keep as much to the right of
the road as possible ancl the direction and advice of the poiice on
ct-rty shall be strir:tl,v complieci i,vith.
(6) If two
or lrore politicai parties or canclidates propose to take processions
over the same route or parts thereof at about the same time, the
organizers shall establish contact i’vell in advance and decide r”rpon
the measures to he taken lo see that lhe processions do not clash ol’
cause hindrance to traffic. The assistance of the local polics shall be
availed of for arriving at a satisfactory arrangement. For this purpose
the parties shail contact the police at the earliest opportunity.
(7) The political parties or candidates shall exercise control to the maximum
possible in the matter of processionists carrying articles which may be
put to misuse by undesirable elernents especially in moments of
(8) The carrying of effigies purporting to
represent member of other political parties or their leaders, burning
such effigies in public and such other forms demonstration shall not be
countenanced by any political party or candidate.
IV. Polling Day
All Political parties and candidates shall –
co-operate with the officers on election duty to ensure peaceful and
orderly polling and complete freedom to the voters to exercise their
franchise without being subjected to any annoyance or obstruction.
(ii) supply to their authorized workers suitable badges or identity cards.
agree that the identity slip supplied by them to voters hall be on
plain [whiteJ paper and shall not contain any symbol, name of the
candidate or the name of the party;
(iv) refrain from serving or distributing liquor on polling day and during the forty eight hours preceding it.
not allow unnecessary crowd to be collected near the camps set up by
the political parties and candidates near the polling booths so as to
avoid Confrontation and tension among workers and sympathizers of the
parties and the candidate.
(vi) ensure that the
candidate’s camps shall be simple .They shall not display any posters,
flags, symbols or any other propaganda material. No eatable shall be
served or crowd allowed at the camps and
co-operate with the authorities in complying with the restrictions to be
iniposed on the plying of vehicles on the polling clay and obtain
permits for them i,vhich should be displayed prominently on those
V. Polling Booth
Excepting the voters, no one without a valid pass from the Hlection Commission shall enter the polling booths.
The Election Commission is appointing Observers. If the candiclates or their
agents have any specific complaint or problem regarding the conduct of elections they may bring the same to the notice of,the Observer.
VII. Party in Power
The party in power whether at the Centre or in the State or States concerned, shall ensure that no cause is given for any complaint that it has used its official position for the purposes of its election campaign and in particular
[a] The Ministers shall
not combine their official visit with elecrioneering work and shall not
also make use of official machinery or personnel cluring the
(b) Government transport including
official air-crafts, vehicles, machinery ancl personnel shall not be
used for furtherance of the interest of the party in po\ryer;
Public places such as maidens etc., for holding election meetings, and
use of helipads for air-flights in connection with elections shall not
be monopolized by itself. Other parties and candidates shall be allowed
the use of such places and facilities on the same terms and conditions
on which they are used by the party in power;
Rest houses, dark bungalows or other Government accommodation shall not
be monopolized by the party in power or its candidates and such
accommodation shall be allowed to be used by other parties and
candidates in a fair manner but no party or candidate shall use or be
allowed to use such accommodation (including premises appertaining
thereto) as a campaign office or for holding any public meeting for the
purposes of election propaganda;
(iv) Issue of
advertisement at the cost of public exchequer in the newspapers and
other media and the misuse of official mass media during the election
period for partisan coverage of political news and publicity regarding
achievements with a view to furthering the prospects of the party in
power shall be scrupulously avoided.
(v) Ministers and
other authorities shall not sanction grants/payments out of
discretionary funds from the time elections are announced by the
(vi) From the time elections are announced by Commission, Ministers and other authorities shall not –
(a) announce any financial grants in any form or promises thereof; or
(b) [except civil servants) lay foundation stones etc. of’projects or schemes of any kind; or
[cJ make any promise of construction of roads, provision of drinking water
facilities etc,; or
make any ad-hoc appointments in Government, Public Undertakings etc.
which may have the effect of influencing the voters in favor of the
party in power.
Note : The Commission shall annor.rnce
the date of any election r,vhich shall be a clate ordinarily not more
than three weeks prior to the date on whicir the notification is likely
to be stirred in respect of such elections.
Ministers of Central or State Government shall not enter any polling
station or place of counting except in their capacity as a candidate or
voter or authorized agent.
VIII Guidelines on Election Manifestos
The Supreme Court in its judgment dated 5th July 2013 in SLP(CJ No.
21455 of 2008 [ S. Subramaniam Balaji Vs Govt, of Tamil Nadu and OthersJ
has directed the Election Commission to frame guidelines with regard to
the contents of election manifestos in consultation with all the
recognized political parties. The guiding principles which will lead to
framing of such guidelines are quoted below from the judgment:-
“Although, the law is obvious that the promises in the election
manifesto cannot be construed as ‘corrupt practice’ under Section 123 of
RP Act, the reality cannot be ruled out that distribution of freebies
of any kind, undoubtedly, influences all people. It shakes the root of
free and fair elections to a large degree”.
[ii] “The Election Commission, in order to ensure level playing field between
contesting parties and candidates in elections and also in order to see
that the purity of the election process does not get vitiated, as in
past been issuing instructions under the Model Code of Conduct. The
fountainhead of the powers under which the Commission issues these
orders is Article 324 of the Constitution which mandates the Commission
to hold free and fair elections.”
[iii) “We are mindful
of the fact that generally political parties re]
ease their election
manifesto before the announcement of election date, in that scenario,
strictly speaking, the Election Commission will not have the authority
to regulate any act which is done before the announcement of the
Nevertheless, an exception can be made in this regard as the purpose of
election manifesto is directly associated with the election process,,.
Upon receiving the above directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the
Election Commission held a meeting with the recognized National and
Political Parties for consultation with them in the matter
and took note of their conflicting views in the matter. During
consultations, while some political parties supported the issuance of
such guidelines, others were of the view that it is their right and duty
towards voters to make such offers and promises in manifestos in .a
healthy democratic polity. While the Commission agrees in principle with
the point of view that framing of manifestos is the right of the
political parties, it cannot overlook the undesirable impact of some of
the promises and offers on the conduct of free and fair elections and
maintaining level playing field for all political parties and
3. The Constitution under Article 324 mandates the Election Commission, to
elections inter alia to the Parliament and the State Legislatures.
Having due regard to the above directions of the Supreme Court and after
consultation with the Political Parties, the Commission, in the
interest of free and fair elections , hereby directs that Political
Parties and Candidates while releasing election manifestos for any
election to the Parliament or State Legislatures, shall adhere to the
following guidelines :-
(i) The election manifesto
shall not contain anything repugnant to the ideals and principles
enshrined in the Constitution and further that it shall be consistent
with the letter and spirit of other provisions of Model code of conduct.
The Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined in the Constitution
enjoin upon the State to frame various welfare measures for the citizens
and therefore there can be no objection to the promise of such welfare
measures in election manifestos. However, political parties should avoid
making those promises which are likely to vitiate the purity of the
election process or exert undue influence on the voters in exercising
In the interest of transparency,
level playing field and credibility of promises, it is expected that
manifestos also reflect the rationale for the promises and broadly
indicate the ways and means to meet the financial requirements for it.
Trust of voters should be sought only on those promises which are
possible to be fulfilled.
i. Prohibitory period of Release of Manifesto during elections(s)
In case of single phase election, manifesto shall not be released during the
prohibitory period, as prescribed under Section !26 of the Representation of the People Act 1951.
case of multi-phase elections, manifesto shall not be released during
the prohibitory periods, as prescribed under Section 126 of the
Representation of the People Act 1951, of all the phases of those