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UP elections: EC directs polling officers to file FIR against Dainik Jagran for conducting “exit poll”

People queue to cast their vote during the Uttar Pradesh first phase of elections, in Shamli.

People queue to cast their vote during the Uttar Pradesh first phase of elections, in Shamli.  

The Election Commission on Monday issued orders to election officers of 15 Uttar Pradesh districts, in which the first phase of Assembly elections were held on February 11, to lodge separate criminal cases against the managing director of Resource Development International and the Chief Editor of Hindi daily Dainik Jagran on charges of conducting and publishing an “exit poll”.

The cases will be registered under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, read with Section 126A and B of the Representation of the People Act that attracts up to two years’ imprisonment. The Chief Electoral Officer of the State has been directed to file a compliance report by 6 p.m. on Monday. As Section 188 is a cognisable offence, no court order is required to make arrests, said an EC official.

“It has been brought to the notice of the Commission that the Dainik Jagran newspaper has published the result of exit polls conducted by a company by the name of Resource Development International (I) Pvt. Ltd. on the first phase of elections in UP,” said the EC order.

The Commission said Section 126A (1) of the Representation of the People Act provides that no person would conduct any exit poll and publish or publicise by means of print or electronic media or in any other manner the result of any exit poll during such period as may be notified by the Commission.

Earlier, the EC termed the newspaper's act as a clear violation of the Representation of the People Act.

“It is in clear violation of Section 126 A &B of the Representation of the People Act and wilful disobedience of lawful directions of the Commission under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. Reports have been sought from the the UP Chief Electoral Officer urgently,” said an EC spokesperson.

Ahead of the elections, on January 27, the EC had notified the period during which conducting or disseminating results of exit poll would be prohibited during the current elections, from February 4 to March 8.

The newspaper with the largest circulation published the "public feedback" on the first phase of Uttar Pradesh elections for 73 Assembly constituencies held on February 11, showing that the BJP was projected to bag the most seats.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) stood second, while the SP - Congress combine stood third in the "public feedback" survey.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 4:24:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/up-elections-ec-seeks-report-on-dainik-jagran-exit-poll/article17296238.ece

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