Election Commission Bans Publication of Uncertified Ads On Polling Day And Day Before
A cardboard cut-out of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accompanied by a message that reads “GST, The Youth Welcomes Change Of An Era, The New Power Of Economy,” stands in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

Election Commission Bans Publication of Uncertified Ads On Polling Day And Day Before

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The Election Commission barred parties, candidates and others from publishing political advertisements on polling day and a day prior to it in each of the seven phases of Lok Sabha polls unless their contents are pre-certified by screening committees.

The commission used its constitutional powers to take the decision. The Election Commission had taken such a decision for the first time in 2015 Bihar polls.

Its proposal to ban political advertisements on election day and a day before is pending with the Law Ministry for years.

The poll panel said that instances of advertisements of offending and misleading nature published in print media have been brought to its notice in the past. "Such advertisements in the last stage of the election vitiate the entire election process. The affected candidates and parties will not have any opportunity of providing clarification/rebuttal in such a scenario," it said.

The Election Commission order said that to ensure that no untoward incident takes place because of any inflammatory or hate advertisements, it is using its constitutional powers to direct that "no political party or candidate or any other organisation or person" will publish any advertisement in the print media on the day and one day prior to poll day in all the phases, unless the contents are pre-certified by screening committees.

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

In 2016, the Election Commssion had urged the government to amend the 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.

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