Amend People’s Act to curb hate speech: EC to Centre

Amend People’s Act to curb hate speech: EC to Centre

The Election Commission (EC) has sent suggestions to amend Section 126 of the Representation of the People’s Act to curb hate speech in social media, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said on Friday.

He also said the suggestions were based on the report of a committee set up by poll panel.

“A committee was appointed under Mr Umesh Sinha, Deputy Election Commissioner. They held extensive consultation with all the stakeholders and submitted a report.

“The commission has discussed the report and sent some (suggestions for) amendments to the Section 126 Representation of the People’s Act to the Ministry of Law and Justice. Some action will be taken soon,” said Arora.

As for speculations regarding early polls in Maharashtra and Haryana, Arora said that apart from media reports, the EC has not received any formal or informal inputs that the related Assemblies may get dissolved.

He also said the EC has sought an explanation from the West Bengal government regarding the absence of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar from the meeting of EC’s full bench and Bengal government officials on Thursday.

“We have sought an explanation from them (West Bengal government) regarding the issue,” said Arora.
Arora also reiterated the poll panel’s stand of not going back to ballot papers.

“We are not going back to the days of the ballot papers being snatched, muscle power being used for it and inordinate delays in counting,” said Arora.

The EC has asked all the district magistrates and senior police officials of Bengal to look into the law and order situation in the state and stressed on swift execution of non-bailable warrants and pending cases of electoral offenses from the last elections.

Pointing out that for the first time, VVPATs will be used in the entire state at all polling stations, Arora said that officers have been asked to increase related awareness among all stakeholders.

He also said that the C-Vigil app will be activated in West Bengal for the first time.

With this app, citizens can report violations of the Model Code of Conduct directly to the concerned authorities without having to go the Returning Officer in person.