Panel moots ban on election day ads in papers; but law unlikely to change before Lok Sabha polls

As of now, only electronic media is barred from showing election publicity material during the last 48 hours before conclusion of polling.

Published: 15th January 2019 09:14 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th January 2019 09:14 PM   |  A+A-

EVM, Voting

Image used for representational purpose only


NEW DELHI: A panel, which was asked to propose changes in electoral laws dealing with campaigning in the last 48 hours, has recommended a ban on advertisements in newspapers on election day, but according to senior Election Commission officials statutes are unlikely to get amended ahead of Lok Sabha polls.

As of now, only electronic media is barred from showing election publicity material during the last 48 hours before conclusion of polling.

But the committee has now recommended bringing the print media under the ambit of Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act 1951.

It in effect means that political parties cannot publish campaigning advertisements on the day of election.

"It would require amendment in the RP Act. It is unlikely to happen in the Budget session. It means that things would continue the way they are," said a top EC official.

In 2016, the EC had urged the government to amend electoral law to bar political advertisements in newspapers 48 hours before the day of polling on the lines of the restriction on electronic media.

The move had come in the wake of poll panel using its constitutional powers to ban such newspaper advertisements on a case-by-case basis during the Bihar assembly election in October-November of 2015.

Meanwhile, the EC Tuesday accepted the recommendations of the committee in principle.

The committee has now been asked to take time-bound steps to formalise its recommendations and implementations of the report, official sources said.

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