“The Commission has considered the matter of application of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in the cases of premature dissolution of legislative assembly where a caretaker government has been asked to carry on the administration of that state or Union Territory for the purposes of free, fair, transparent, and robust electoral process.
“On careful consideration of the matter, keeping the observation of Supreme Court in S.R. Bommai and Others versus Union of India and Others (1994), that the caretaker government should merely carry on the day-to-day governance and desist from taking any major policy situation decision in view,” the poll panel said in an order.
The direction has implications for Telangana where the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) government led by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao is continuing as a caretaker government after it dissolved the state assembly around nine months in advance. Accepting the decision, the state Governor had dissolved the Assembly and asked the chief minister to continue in office till the elections.
The EC said that in such cases the provisions of Part-VII of the Model Code of Conduct shall come into operation “with immediate effect” in the state concerned and will continue to be in force till the completion of the election to constitute the new legislative assembly.
The poll panel in its order said the provisions of the Part-VII of Model Code of Conduct would apply on the caretaker state government as well as on the central government in “so far as matters relating to that state are concerned”.
“Consequently, neither the caretaker state government nor the central government shall announce any new schemes, projects, etc. in respect of that state or undertake any of the activities prohibited under the aforesaid Part-VII of the Model Code of Conduct,” the EC said.
In another significant direction, the EC has asked the ministers and other functionaries of the caretaker government to desist from using official resources for any non-official purposes, combining of official visit with electioneering work, etc.
“(This) shall apply on all ministers and other authorities of the caretaker
state government, the central government as well as the governments of other states,” it said.