EC likely to speed up screening of political ads

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission (EC) is likely to reduce the duration for clearing political advertisements, meant for TV channels, from the proposed 10 days to about a week's time.

This is likely to be conveyed to the Supreme Court on Thursday when a government-initiated case on political advertising on the electronic medium comes up for hearing again.

 

In a related development, the government has opined informally that it would not be prudent to promulgate an Ordinance, as had been reported in a section of the Press today, to empower the EC to ban all sorts of opinion and exit polls.

The government's thinking is based on the fact that promulgation of an ordinance to empower the EC might not go down too well with the apex court at a time when the SC is hearing a case on related issues like advertising.

However, legal experts point out such a scenario is possible if the EC petitions Supreme Court on the issue of exit and opinion polls on the ground that it does have adequate power to take action in this regard and the court, in turn, gives a directive to the government.

Yesterday, at an all-party meet called by the EC, the political consensus on opinion polls was to clamp down on such activities, while allowing exit polls only after a certain period of time.

Meanwhile, tomorrow the Commission would also apprise the apex court on its preparedness on monitoring political advertising on the electronic medium and the mechanism that is likely to be adopted.

Though even a proposed seven-day clearance period may leave political parties with too little a time before campaigning for the first phase of polls come to an end on 18 April (actual polling takes places on 20 April), something would still be better than none, a senior political leader with a national party pointed out.

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