CHENNAI: The Election Commission has banned political advertisement at the space provided on lease for commercial advertisements such as airports, railway stations, bus stands or any building or structure owned by public sector units.
A circular to this effect has been issued by Chief Electoral Officer RajeshLakhoni to all department heads in the State government to remove any advertisement immediately as part of an enforcement of the model code of conduct.
Since there is no specific provision in the by-laws of public sector units or in the agreements with the advertisement agencies to whom they let out space for advertisements, the Election Commission has instructed the PSUs to add a para stating that no political advertisements shall be displayed or pasted at space provided on lease for commercial advertisements. These include prominent areas such as airports, railway stations, bus stands, post-offices, government hospitals, dispensaries (except on main highways or main roads) during the period of mode code of conduct.
Interestingly, the EC has also stated that advertisement or banners on private places should be erected only after getting the permission from the occupant. A photo-copy of voluntary permission in writing should be obtained and submitted to the returning officer within three days of putting up the flags and banners in such cases. “If the local law does not permit wall writings and pasting of posters which is not easily removable, the same shall not be resorted to under any circumstances even on the pretext of having obtained consent of the owner of the property,” the EC said.
Meanwhile, the model code of conduct reference cases should have to be routed through the departments through the Chief Secretary of the State and not directly to the Chief Electoral Officer, according to a circular issued by the Chief Electoral Officer.