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March 21 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) plays a pivotal role in maintaining the integrity and fairness of elections in India.

Recently, with the announcement of voting dates for the Lok Sabha elections 2024 by the Election Commission of India (ECI), the MCC has once again come into force, highlighting its significance in electoral governance.

What is MCC and its Evolution?

About MCC:

  • MCC is a consensus document agreed upon by political parties to regulate their conduct during elections.
  • Mandated under Article 324 of the Constitution, MCC empowers the Election Commission to supervise and ensure free and fair elections.
  • Operational from the announcement of election schedules until result declaration.
  • Prohibits the government from making financial grants, ad hoc appointments, or promising infrastructural development during this period.

Enforceability of MCC:

  • While lacking statutory backing, MCC gains strength through strict enforcement by the EC.
  • Certain provisions can be enforced using corresponding statutes like the Indian Penal Code and the Representation of People Act.

Evolution of MCC:

  • Originating from Kerala’s election code in 1960, MCC was formalized by the ECI in 1974.
  • Revised over the years to address challenges and include regulations for ruling parties’ conduct.
  • Last revised in 2014, MCC continually adapts to changing electoral landscapes.

Key Provisions of MCC:

General Conduct:

  • Prohibits activities that could stoke communal tensions or promote hatred based on religion, caste, or community.
  • Criticism of opponents should be focused on policies and performance, avoiding personal attacks.

Meetings and Processions:

  • Parties must inform police of meeting venues for security arrangements.
  • Coordination required to prevent clashes between processions of different candidates.
  • Effigies representing opponents not permitted.

Polling Day:

  • Only authorized personnel and voters allowed in polling booths.
  • Party workers must have proper identification.
  • Identity slips provided to voters must be devoid of any party symbols.

Party in Power:

  • Ministers barred from using official machinery for election purposes.
  • Restrictions imposed on combining official visits with election work.

Issues Associated with MCC?

Enforcement Challenges:

  • Inconsistent enforcement due to lack of statutory backing.
  • Violations often go unpunished, undermining the effectiveness of MCC.

Opposition to Legalization:

  • Election Commission opposes legalization citing the need for swift elections.
  • Lengthy judicial processes make legal enforcement impractical within the 45-day election period.


  • Certain MCC provisions are vague, leading to confusion among political entities.
  • Lack of clarity hampers proper understanding and adherence.

Limited Scope:

  • Critics advocate expanding MCC to cover broader issues like electoral funding and social media.
  • Current scope may not adequately address evolving electoral dynamics.

Timing Issues:

  • MCC only effective during election periods, leaving room for misconduct outside these periods.
  • Misuse of power could occur during non-election periods.

Impact on Governance:

  • MCC’s restrictions on government announcements may hinder governance during elections.
  • Balance needed to ensure governance functions smoothly while upholding electoral integrity.

Need for Reform:

  • Calls for reform to address MCC shortcomings and enhance its effectiveness.
  • Reforms crucial for maintaining the credibility of electoral processes.

Way Forward

Strengthen Enforcement:

  • Enhance mechanisms for enforcing MCC guidelines to ensure compliance by all parties.
  • Strict monitoring and accountability mechanisms needed.

Clarify Provisions:

  • Improve clarity and specificity of MCC rules to minimize ambiguity.
  • Clear guidelines essential for proper understanding and adherence.

Expanding Scope:

  • Broaden MCC’s coverage to address emerging issues like digital campaigning and electoral funding transparency.
  • Adapt to changing electoral dynamics for effective regulation.

Legalizing MCC:

  • Evaluate proposals to legally institutionalize the MCC, providing statutory backing for enhanced effectiveness and enforceability.
  • Legalization could empower the Election Commission to address corruption and ensure fair elections.

Public Awareness:

  • Launch campaigns to educate voters, political parties, and candidates about the importance of MCC compliance.
  • Awareness crucial for fostering a culture of electoral integrity and fairness.

Continuous Review:

  • Establish a framework for regular evaluation and adaptation of the MCC to address evolving electoral challenges.
  • Continuous improvement necessary for maintaining the relevance and effectiveness of MCC.


The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is vital for upholding the integrity and credibility of democratic elections. Legalizing the MCC could empower the Election Commission to ensure fair elections, ultimately strengthening democracy in India.


March 21
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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