Court drops proceedings against PM Narendra Modi in poll code breach case

Written by PTI | Ahmedabad | Updated: Aug 22 2014, 22:56pm hrs
A metropolitan court today dropped the proceedings against Prime Minister Narendra Modi after accepting the closure report filed by Gujarat police in a case of alleged violation of model code of conduct during Lok Sabha polls, saying no offence was committed by him.

"No further action can be taken in this case as no offence was committed," Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate M H Patel said in his order accepting the closure summary report filed by the crime branch on August 8 giving a clean chit to Modi and dropping the proceedings.

An FIR was filed against Modi, then BJP's prime ministerial candidate, on the directive of the Election Commission for allegedly violating the Representation of People (RP) Act on April 30 when polling was held in Gujarat.

Modi had set off a huge controversy when he addressed a press conference immediately after casting his vote at a school in Ranip area of Ahmedabad, part of party veteran LK Advani's Gandhinagar seat, where he prominently displayed BJP's election symbol lotus.

In his order, the Magistrate said Modi had not violated the poll code as his interaction with the media outside the polling station was "not pre-planned".

Citing the closure report, the court said neither Modi nor his party had invited the media or arranged a press conference. The media requested Modi to interact with them and he accepted their request and answered questions. Besides the journalists Modi addressed nobody, the order said.

Regarding display of BJP's election symbol, the court said it was part of Modi's attire that day.

On August 19, Police Inspector H A Rathod of the city crime branch, whose complaint formed the basis for lodging an FIR against Modi, had told the court he had no objection to the probe agency's closure report that absolved him of any culpability in the case.

The poll panel had ordered registration of an FIR against Modi for violating the provisions of Sections 126 (1)(a) and 126 (l)(b) of Representation of People Act, 1951, following a complaint by the Congress. The maximum punishment under these provisions of RPA is up to two years imprisonment.

Section 126 (1) (a) of RP Act prohibits public meetings during a period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for conclusion of polling.