It is unfortunate that in our society the saying that rules are observed in their violation is being constantly demonstrated in our day to day life. And when rules are violated by people seeking public office, what examples do they set for the public? In the most recent instance, section 21 of the City Corporation (Electoral Code of Conduct) Rules 2016, which allows the use of loudspeakers only between 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm, is being flouted by all the candidates, with returning officers falling short of compelling the candidates to conform to the rubles of electoral conduct. And not only that, the limit on the number of loudspeakers a candidate may use in a venue/spot—which is one—is being exceeded with impunity. It needs little emphasis, but which we often care little about, that noise pollution can be as harmful to public health as any other type of pollution, if not more. It is hard to imagine, unless one is in that area, the effect of the microphones and amplifiers of all the 700 candidates blaring simultaneously.
One assumes that candidates agree to comport with the norms and stipulations governing the electoral behaviour before embarking on campaigns. And they must be aware of the existing electoral rules for city corporation elections. It is thus surprising that some candidates are unaware of the electoral laws, as a report in this paper reveals. Admittedly, election time in our country wears a festive mood. But one should not forget that campaigning shouldn’t cause discomfort to the public whose votes the candidates are seeking, even more so when the SSC exams are knocking at the door.
Regrettably too, laminated posters are being used in violation of a High Court order banning single-use plastic. It is an irony that the mayoral candidates who promise us a clean environment are themselves adding to the pollution. The excuse that its use is not banned by the Election Commission (EC) is unacceptable. We believe that the EC must move decisively to enforce the electoral rules and the HC order. And if any of its directives violate the order of the court then that must be immediately rescinded.