New Delhi, Nov 7 (IANS) The Election Commission (EC) Friday censured the government for announcing a hike in compensation to families affected in the 1984 riots, saying it violated the Model Code of Conduct.
On Oct 30, the government announced a compensation of Rs.5 lakh each to be given to the kin of 3,325 people killed during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi following the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
The compensation for the kin of such people or civilians who suffered permanent incapacitation as a result of the violence was earlier Rs.3 lakh.
In a letter to the home ministry, the Election Commission said the government’s response that no decision regarding the hike in compensation had been taken was not correct as the EC has not come across any denial of media reports.
“…the commission observed that the above news was widely published and disseminated. The commission has not come across any denial of the above news by the electronic media or anywhere else,” the letter said.
The commission concluded that it could not be denied that the news gave an unmistakable impression to the electorate that a decision to the above effect has in fact been taken by the government.
This had the likelihood of swaying voter mood when a Model Code of Conduct was in force in Delhi in the context of the three bye-elections to the Delhi assembly which were later axed, the EC said.
“The commission would like to be assured that such instances do not recur in future,” the letter added.
The Model Code of Conduct is now no longer in force in Delhi in view of the cancellation of the three by-polls since the state assembly has been dissolved Nov 4.