Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Election Commission of India has imposed restrictions on the use of short message service (SMS) for electioneering as actions in contravention of the model code of conduct and election rules had come to its notice.

Chief Electoral Officer Nalini Netto said in an official release that some interested parties had been sending derogatory messages in disregard to the code of conduct, election rules and directives of the commission.

Hence, the police had been directed to maintain special mobile numbers to receive complaints and information on such messages. The police should find out the source of the messages and take action under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the People’s Representation Act.

If group messaging is found to be used for campaign, the returning officers and district election officers concerned should bring that to the notice of the Chief Electoral Officer. The Chief Electoral Officer would calculate the costs involved in sending such messages and treat them as part of the campaign expenses of the candidates.

Ms. Netto said sending of SMS for campaign purposes stood banned for 48 hours prior to closing time for polling.