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Model Code of Conduct

Model Code of Conduct

Why in News?

Recently, the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) has come into force with the announcement of voting dates for the Lok Sabha elections 2024 by the Election Commission of India (ECI), marking a significant aspect of electoral governance.

What is MCC and its Evolution?


  • The MCC is a consensus document. The political parties have themselves agreed to keep their conduct during elections in check and to work within the Code. o It helps the EC in keeping with the mandate it has been given under Article 324 of the Constitution, which gives it the power to supervise and conduct free and fair elections to the Parliament and State Legislatures.
  • The MCC is operational from the date on which the election schedule is announced until the date of the result announcement.
  • The government cannot announce any financial grants, promise construction of roads or other facilities, and make any ad hoc appointments in government or public undertaking during the time the Code is in force.

Key Provisions of MCC:

General Conduct:
  • No party or candidate shall include in any activity that may aggravate existing differences or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic.
  • Criticisms directed towards other political parties should be restricted to an evaluation of their policies, historical performance, and initiatives, refraining from personal attacks.
Meetings and Processions:
  • Parties must inform the local police authorities of the venue and time of any meeting to enable the police to make adequate security arrangements.
  • If two or more candidates plan processions along the same route, the political parties must establish contact in advance to ensure that the processions do not clash.
  • Carrying and burning effigies representing members of other political parties is not allowed.
Polling Day:
  • Only voters and those with a valid pass from the EC are allowed to enter polling booths.
  • All authorised party workers at polling booths should be given suitable badges or identity cards.
Party in Power:
  • The MCC incorporated certain restrictions in 1979, regulating the conduct of the party in power. Ministers must not combine official visits with election work or use official machinery for the same.

What are the Issues Associated with MCC?

  • Enforcement Challenges: Enforcement of the MCC can be inconsistent or inadequate, leading to violations that may go unpunished due to lack of statutory backing.
  • Ambiguity: Certain provisions of the MCC may be vague or open to interpretation, leading to confusion among political parties and candidates.
  • Limited Scope: Critics argue that the MCC’s scope should be expanded to cover a wider range of issues, including electoral funding, social media usage, and hate speech.
  • Timing Issues: The MCC comes into effect only during election periods, leaving room for misconduct outside of these periods.
  • Impact on Governance: Some argue that the MCC’s restrictions on government announcements and activities during election periods may hinder the functioning of governance.
  • Need for Reform: There are calls for reforming the MCC to address its shortcomings and make it more effective in ensuring fair and transparent elections.

Way Forward

  • Strengthen Enforcement: Enhance mechanisms for enforcing MCC guidelines to ensure compliance by all political parties.
  • Clarify Provisions: Improve clarity and specificity of MCC rules to minimise ambiguity and facilitate better understanding and adherence. Thus, need for a codified and comprehensive MCC.
  • Expanding Scope as per New-age Needs: Consider broadening the MCC’s coverage to address emerging issues such as digital campaigning and electoral funding transparency.
  • Legalising MCC: Evaluate proposals to legally institutionalise the MCC, providing it with statutory backing for enhanced effectiveness and enforceability.
  • Public Awareness: Launch campaigns to educate voters, political parties, and candidates about the importance of MCC compliance and its role in fostering fair elections.
  • Continuous Review: Establish a framework for regular evaluation and adaptation of the MCC to address evolving electoral dynamics and challenges.


  • The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) serves as a compass for democracy but faces challenges with declining commitment and increasing violations. Legalising it could empower the Election Commission to address corruption and ensure fair elections, essential for upholding the integrity and credibility of democratic processes.

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