Poll panel to derecognise parties if they use minors

The Election Commission (EC) told the Bombay High Court on Tuesday that it would derecognise those political parties which use children in election campaign or poll-related work.

“We cannot cancel registration of political parties but we are empowered to derecognise by freezing their symbols if they violate laws,” the commission said in an affidavit filed before a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka.

Senior counsel Pradeep Rajgopal said the commission had sent two letters to all the political parties in May 2013 and September 2014 asking them not to use minors in campaign or poll-related work as this was strictly prohibited and would invite action.

The court, however, raised a query as to what action would the commission take against Independent candidates who use children in election-related work.

The commission said it would file an additional affidavit on this aspect on next occasion. The matter was adjourned for two weeks.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation  seeking a ban on children being engaged in election work or campaigning.

After hearing arguments, the bench admitted the petition for final hearing.

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