Delhi high court has given a verdict in which the court finds that certain restriction imposed by the election commission in its authoritative power is not against any law. The dispute arose when the petitioner was refused by the election commission to engage in providing spaces for the advertisement of parties in commercial areas during time electoral mode in which an agreement was between Delhi metro corporation ltd.
The agreement was a license given to petitioners by respondent 3, Delhi metro corporation. This refusal has led to cause petitioners certain financial losses.
The petitioners who were an advertising company filed a writ petition that this refusal by the election commission is against the fundamental rights provided under Article 19(1)(a)and 19(1)(g). The counsel representing the petitioners contend that space was given for a period of 10 yrs for commercial use and inclusions of the certain measures by election commission are violating their right to trade freely and also the right to speech and expression. Now the counsel representing the commission contends it all was under reasonable restriction.
Election Commission of India, in its affidavit, has contended that during the general elections of Lok Sabha, 2019, complaint, regarding display of advertisements containing photographs of certain political leaders at various stations of Delhi Metro as well as inside the coaches of Delhi Metro was received by the Commission and keeping in view of the responses received, the Commission issued the said letter dated 13.06.2019, in terms of paragraph 12.3.4 of the Model Code of Conduct Manual 2019 and thus prohibited display of election advertisements, hoarding, etc. on Government premises as also the premises owned PSUs.
The article 324 of the constitution comprehends the powers to superintend, direct, control and conduct of elections to the Parliament and the State Legislature, to the officer of the President and Vice President have been vested in the election commission the.
The Delhi high court gives its view that such restriction imposed under election model conduct is for a limited period of time in which advertisements relating to the election are restricted and in no manner the rights of the petitioners are being suppressed. The action taken by authorities is during the election period is under the legal power of authorities.