The 2019 Lok Sabha election is about to kick off in India; consequently, the Model Code of Conduct has come into effect. The Code of Conduct sets out guidelines for all the political parties that they need to abide by with regard to their meetings, processions, speeches, and general conduct until the final votes are counted. There, of course, have been numerous accounts where this code have been violated. But the main culprits behind the violation have got away with it due to the lack of untampered photographic or video evidence.
To tackle this hindrance, the Election Commission has launched a new app called cVIGIL, where the violations can be reported through videos and photos. It is expected that with the help of the civil app, the authorities can take quick actions, which previously would have been very difficult. The app was launched in July 2018 during the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana, and Mizoram. According to the Election Commission, 68 percent of the over 28,000 complaints were filed using the app. The EC app is available on Google Play Store and is compatible with the OS Jelly Bean 4.1 and above.
The app will be effective only after the Model Code of Conduct is applied to the constituency. Anonymous login and login with all personal details – both of these options are available to the user. However, anonymous users would not be able to track the status of their complaints. A registered user will be able to do so, and the field unit/district controller may approach him or her to confirm the details of their complaint. To record any complaint, a user needs to click on the photo/video icon. The app gives the user a 2-minute window to report the incident and a 5 minutes window to complete the whole process of lodging the complaint.
The Election Commission has given a 100-minute timeline to take action against any violation of the code of conduct. After a user sends the details, the district collector will assign the complaint to a field officer for verification within five minutes. In the next 45 minutes, a field unit will arrive at the venue, take necessary action and submit the report. In the final 50 minutes, the returning officer will check whether the complaint is correct and take necessary action to successfully resolve the case.