48-hour ban on poll-related programmes
Facts about polling can be telecast on polling day, but no eliciting of opinions
Punishment for violators may mean a two-year jail term or fine or both
HYDERABAD: With a view to preventing television channels from influencing voters, the Election Commission on Saturday announced a ban on telecast of programmes by satellite and local channels from 4 p.m. on April 14 to 4 p.m. on April 16 when polling in Phase I elections will be over.
The ban applies to all election-related programmes like panel discussions and even press-meets by candidates and others, apart from display of visuals of public meetings, rallies and the like taken earlier.
The programmes can be resumed from 4 p.m. on April 16 and continued up to 5 p.m. on April 21 when the campaigning for the Phase II polling (April 23) will close.
Chief Electoral Officer I. V. Subba Rao said action would be initiated against those defying the ban under Section of 126 of the Representation of People Act which specified a two-year jail term or fine or both as punishment for using “any matter intended or calculated to influence the result of the election.”
The “facts about the polling” could, however, be telecast on the polling day but without eliciting opinions of voters and others, the CEO said.
When it was pointed that the ban would amount to prevention of campaigning under the Phase II, Mr. Rao said the programmes telecast by satellite channels would go State-wide, nationwide and even worldwide.
As such, it would be technically impossible to restrict these programmes to Phase II polling areas alone.
The CEO is likely to get more directions from the EC on Sunday when its three Commissioners will interact with the CEOs all over the country, through a video-conference.
Code enforcement on
Officials continued with the strict enforcement of the code, preparing the ground for the Phase I polling.
On Saturday, another 2,000 banners and hoardings were removed by the task force teams, cash seized to the tune of Rs. 47 lakh, 38 belt shops closed, 1,169 more persons bound over to police, and 15 non-bailable warrants executed.