The Supreme Court Monday took note of a PIL seeking direction to the Election Commission to take "strict action" against political parties if their spokespersons make remarks based on castes and religions in the media in the run up to general elections.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna issued notice to the EC on the plea filed an NRI Yoga teacher based in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Referring to communal and caste-based election speeches and remarks of political leaders, Harpreet Mansukhani said he has filed the plea to "maintain secular environment in the forthcoming Lok Sabha Election, 2019".
In the plea, he has sought various reliefs including a direction to the poll panel "to take strict actions against the political parties if their spokesperson or representative deliver speeches and make remark in media pertaining to the religion or caste.
"The 'undesirable development' of appeals to religion, race, caste, community or language of politicians would hamper the objective of fundamental rights provided under the Constitution of India, this would affect the public at large".
The plea, filed through lawyer Arup Banerjee, has also sought setting up of a committee under the chairmanship of retired Supreme Court Judge "to have close watch on entire election process and to check the loyalty of election commission".
It has also sought a direction to the poll panel to take strict actions against media houses which hold debates on caste or religious lines.
The plea has sought a report from the poll panel on the measures adopted by it in holding "corruption free elections".
"Our Constitution ensures a Socialist, Secular State and equality, fraternity among its citizens. Our country has a democratic set-up which is by the people, for the people and of the people.
"A new trend of giving tickets to those who spread communal hatred and do caste or religion based politics has grown very rapidly on media and social media platform more than that the situation appears to be more alarming when we find such persons being elected for the State Assembly or Parliament...," the plea said.