Taking exception to the telecast and publication of the results of opinion polls conducted in the States and Union Territories that have already gone to the polls, the Election Commission on Wednesday asked the media to desist from the practice to “maintain a level playing field.”

In a communication to the chief editors and heads of television channels and the print media, the EC drew attention to Section 126 A of the Representation of the People Act that bars the media from publishing the outcome of exit polls.

The EC referred to the opinion poll results broadcast by a channel on April 14, including those of the 111 constituencies where polling had taken place, which “in effect becomes dissemination of the result of exit polls in respect of the said constituencies.”

Explaining the prohibited period for this purpose, the EC said: “The period may commence from the beginning of the hours fixed for poll on the first day of poll and continues till half an hour after closing of the polling in all the States and Union Territories.” it noted. Publication of the results of exit polls of any kind has been banned for the period from April 7, first phase of the election, to May 12, last phase.

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