FIR against Hindi daily for publishing exit poll

FIR against Hindi daily for publishing exit poll

The Election Commission on Monday decided to take action over the publication of an exit poll by a Hindi daily, despite its clear direction against it.

The daily published a “public feedback” on the first phase of the Uttar Pradesh elections for 73 Assembly constituencies held on February 11.

According to the projection, the BJP is predicted to bag the maximum seats, followed by the BSP and the SP-Congress combine in the third place.

The poll panel issued orders to election officers of 15 districts, where the first phase of elections were held, to lodge separate criminal cases against all those involved in undertaking the survey and publishing it.

Those who will be named in the FIRs include the managing director of ‘Resource Development International’ and the chief editor of Hindi daily ‘Dainik Jagran’ on charges of conducting and publishing an “exit poll”.

What EC says

The poll watchdog said the offence amounts to disobedience of order duly promulgated by the commission.

In a letter to the chief electoral officer of Uttar Pradesh, the poll panel reminded him that the “offence under Section 126A of the Representation of the People Act is punishable by imprisonment of up to two years or fine or both”.

It said that Section 126A (1) provides that no person will conduct any exit poll and publish or publicise by means of print or electronic media or in any other manner the result of any exit poll during such period as may be notified by the commission.

It also said attention was drawn to the fact that “the Dainik Jagran newspaper has published the result of exit polls conducted by a company by the name of Resource Development International (I) Pvt Ltd on the first phase of elections in Uttar Pradesh, through their website”.

“It is in clear violation of Section 126 A&B of the Representation of the People Act and wilful disobedience of lawful directions of the commission under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. Reports have been sought from the chief electoral officer of Uttar Pradesh urgently,” it said.

The commission said it will not hesitate to take “stern legal action in the event of any violations of the above mentioned legal provisions”.

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