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Exit polls: EC justifies ban, HC rejects plea by media house

February 04, 2017 12:13 am | Updated 12:13 am IST

PANAJI: The Bombay High Court at Goa on Friday rejected a plea for ad interim protection to Sociedade De Fomento Industrial Pvt. Ltd, a media house belonging to the Timblo group, over the conduct of exit polls.

The directive came after a clarification was issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday, in which the commission justified its order to ban the conduct of exit polls anywhere in the States that are going to polls.

In the clarification, Additional Chief Electoral Officer Narayan Navti wrote to the media house that the ECI, under section 126 A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, has prohibited the conduct of any exit polls and publishing of their results for the elections that will be held between February 4 and March 8.

The group had filed a writ petition in court on Thursday, challenging the guidelines of the ECI for the conduct of exit polls on February 4, the election day in Goa.

A local cable news channel, belonging to the media house, was scheduled to conduct exit polls on February 4, with consent to publish/telecast the results after 6 p.m. on March 8, after the last phase of the elections.

Advocate S.S. Kantak, appearing for the petitioners, pointed out that the stand of the ECI was totally contrary to the provisions of Section 126 A of the Act, as well as a notification dated January 31, 2017. The guidelines that were issued by the ECI, according to him, only prohibited the publication and dissemination of the results. He claimed that the exit polls were conducted in the previous elections in Goa.

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