Election Commission bans uncertified adverts

New Delhi: The EC on Satur­day 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 LS poll unless their cont­ents are pre-certified by screening committees. The EC used its constituti­onal powers to take the decision. The EC 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 Saturday 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 EC 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 organization 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 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.

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