SC says EC can frame guidelines to regulate exit polls

Accomodating the Government’s efforts of moving closer to making a statute for regulating publication or telecast of exit polls,the Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Election Commission...

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:January 20, 2009 12:29 am

Accomodating the Government’s efforts of moving closer to making a statute for regulating publication or telecast of exit polls,the Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Election Commission to “frame or issue any guidelines” to regulate such polls during elections.

Earlier,in 2004,during the hearing of the same case,the apex court had,however,restrained the poll panel from any such move on the grounds that it interferes with the

citizens’ fundamental right to speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution.

As the matter came up for hearing on Monday,additional solicitor general (ASG) Amarendra Sharan appearing before the Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam said a Bill had been envisaged for regulating exit polls. “It has already been cleared by the Rajya Sabha while the Lok Sabha nod is awaited,” he added.

Perusing the plea by ASG and poll panel’s counsel Meenakshi Arora,the court noted,“The Election Commission is free to frame its guidelines to regulate publication of exit polls.”

This observation came as the petitioner’s counsel sought some kind of regulation guidelines as general elections were near. “Since there’s no time-limit prescribed for the Bill to be cleared,we must ensure some kind of guidelines,” the counsel urged the Bench to issue appropriate directions till the Bill got the nod.

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