EC examines telecast in election areas

With television channels showing the release of the BJP’s election manifesto and its contents on a day when polling in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections took place, the Election Commission (EC) is examining the issue to determine whether this is in violation of rules.

“The matter is being examined legally in depth,” said EC sources here on Monday.
They said release of the manifesto on a polling day was not an issue before the commission, but its telecast in regions where election took place is being examined.
Five constituencies in Assam and one in Tripura went to polls on Monday.

Asked about the issue, Election Commissioner H S Bramha said telecast of news showing release of the manifesto should have been avoided in the areas where voting was taking place.

Asked whether the EC would serve notice on TV channels in this regard, he said the matter would be discussed with experts.

Though Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath has made it clear that there is no bar on a party releasing its manifesto on a poll day, he clearly said it cannot be publicised or telecast in areas where elections are being held.

Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act says: “Telecast of the manifesto during the 48-hour period is thus likely to be a violation of 126 (1)(b)”. The section prohibits public meetings during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for conclusion of the poll.

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