NEW DELHI: Taking strong note of the violations by a Hindi daily for publishing exit polls during the ongoing assembly elections in UP, the Election Commission on Monday ordered lodging of FIRs against the concerned authorities.
The Commission has directed that the District election officers of each of the districts covered under the first phase of poll and Lucknow to immediately file FIR against the concerned authorities of the agencies involved in the publication of the exit poll under Section 188 of IPC read with Section 126A and 126B of RP Act, 1951.
The EC had notified on January 27 the period during which conducting any exit poll and publishing or publicizing by means of print or electronic media or disseminating results in any other manner would be prohibited during the current elections, specifying the period between 7 AM on February 4 and 5.30 PM on March 8.
The Poll panel shot off a letter to the chief electoral officer of Uttar Pradesh in which it reminded the CEO that the "offence under Section 126A is punishable by imprisonment for a term upto 2 years or with fine or both."
The EC said that it has been brought to its notice that "the newspaper has published 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, through their website."
The poll watchdog pointed out that Section 126A(1) of Representation of the People Act, 1951 provides that no person shall conduct any exit poll and publish or publicise by means of print or electronic media, the result of any exit poll during such period as may be notified by the Commission.
As per the Commission's directions, exit polls cannot be conducted and publicised by means of print and electronic media or dissemination in any other manner starting from February 4, 2017 at 7 AM to March 8, 2017
73 constituencies in 15 districts of Uttar Pradesh went for assembly polls in phase one on February 11.
Commission while reiterating its directions, makes it clear that it will not hesitate to take stern legal action in the event of any violations of the above mentioned legal provisions.