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EC cannot ban opinion polls, says Sampath

Tells government to enact law.

Ranchi/new Delhi |
Updated: March 31, 2014 12:23:16 am

Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath has said the Election Commission cannot ban broadcast and publication of opinion polls. The statement comes days after the Law Ministry suggested to the poll panel that it can restrict such polls using its powers under Article 324 of Constitution.

“As in law where there is a field not covered by any legislation, the commission can use its power under Article 324. But under Article 77 we cannot do that,” the Chief Election Commissioner told reporters in Ranchi Sunday.

Under Article 77 of the Constitution, all executive actions of the Centre are taken in the name of the President.

“Because of it, our considerate view is since Parliament has already applied its mind, we would not be in a position to ban opinion polls under Article 324,” he said.

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Article 324 gives the Election Commission power of superintendence, direction and control of conducting the elections.

The commission has reverted to the government saying that bringing a law would be a better idea. It has told the Law Ministry that since exit polls are also restricted by law, it should follow similar procedure on opinion polls.

The poll panel had proposed that there should be a prohibition on publication and broadcast of the results of opinion polls starting from the date of notification of elections till the completion of the last phase of polls to the Lok Sabha and Assemblies.
Existing law allows the EC to ban opinion polls 48 hours prior to voting. PTI

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