Reports on amendment in section 126 of the Representation of People Act
In order to review and recommend amendments and changes in the provisions of section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and recommendation, the Committee constituted under the chairmanship of senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha submitted his report recently to the Election Commission. Prior to this committee, issues related to Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 were important in the points of interest.
Major point of view before the committee
To study and test current provisions of Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and other related sections.
Identifying the difficulties and complications encountered while controlling the violation of the said provisions of the Act, especially during the prohibitory period of 48 hours prior to completion of the poll, which has been mentioned in section 126.
During this period, suggesting the necessary amendments to prevent violations under section 126.
Identifying different types and categories of communication technology or media platforms in the country and checking the difficulties in regulating them. Especially when, during the multicultural elections, a 48-hour prohibitory period is applicable.
The effect of new media platforms and social media and its implications during the prohibited period of 48 hours prior to the completion of the voting in view of the provisions of section 126.
To examine current provisions of Model Code of Conduct relating to the above issues and suggest modification in this regard.
Expanded discussion on section 126
In this committee constituted by the Election Commission, the senior officials of the Commission were included in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Ministry of Law and Justice, Press Council of India and News Broadcasters Association. The committee discussed this issue with various political parties and also discussed with stakeholders such as the Press Council of India, News Broadcasters Association, Internet and Mobile Association of India, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Electronics and Information Technology. Along with them, many discussions and consultations with Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, Twitter and EC’s Legal and Other Divisions.
What does Section 126 say?
Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, prohibits any kind of ‘electoral facts’ from radio, television or any other medium during the period of 48 hours prior to the completion of voting in any constituency.
Under the provisions of Section 126, ‘Electoral Fact’ is defined as any material which has the intention to influence any election result. Violation of the above provisions of section 126 may be a maximum of two years of imprisonment or fine or both.
Under Section 126, the EC asks the television / radio channel and cable network etc. to ensure that there should not be anything in the content of the programs broadcast or exhibited by them, which encourages the possibility of a particular party or candidate. Meet or election results are affected. Among other things, it includes an OpenGL poll-based result and includes discussions, analysis, visual and sound messages.
Regarding this, it is also necessary to pay attention to Section 126A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, in which the exit poll is shown in the first phase and the voting in the first phase and the final phase of the election is completed in half the hours. In the context of the current round, the promotion of their results has been banned.
What will be the impact of the recommendations of the committee?
If the EC applies the recommendations made by the committee after necessary amendments, it will help in controlling the voters indirectly by different political parties and other stakeholders during the 48-hour prohibition period before completion of the poll. . Applying strictly to the legal ban on election campaign 48 hours before voting ends, due to the growing influence of digital media, it is becoming tougher than the hardest. Therefore, in addition to the rules and regulations of the Election Commission and all the stakeholders like political parties, media, civil society organizations, intellectuals and educational institutions, youth and citizens, will have to make efforts for this together.
What is the constitution in the constitution?
Under the Constitution, an independent election commission has been set up in India, in which Article 324 contains the supervision, direction and control of preparing the voters list and holding elections for the state legislatures for the President, Vice President, Parliament and every State. The elections of Parliament and State legislatures are concluded under the provisions of two laws: the Representation of the People Act 1950 and the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Public Representation Act, 1950: It is mainly related to preparation and revision of electoral lists. As a supplement to the provisions of this law, under the provisions of Section 28 of this Act, the Central Government has made the Electoral Registration Rule 1960 in consultation with the Election Commission and these rules prepare for the preparation of electoral rolls, their periodic amendments and updates, See all aspects of name removal, details, etc. These rules also see the identity card of the registered voters, including photos on state expenditure. These rules empower the Election Commission to make photocopies with photo of the electorate in addition to other details.
Public Representation Act, 1951: All matters relating to the actual conduct of elections come under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. Under the Section 169 of this Act, the Central Government has made the Electoral Registration Rules, 1961 in consultation with the Election Commission. For the formation of the houses on the basis of this law and rules in all phases, issue of notification for elections, filing nomination papers, scrutiny of nomination papers, withdrawal of nomination by candidate, election, counting and declaration of results. Detailed provisions have been made.
Election Commission has asked about social media
Recently, in a petition filed in the Bombay High Court, it has been asked to give this direction to the Election Commission that all persons, including politicians and private persons, have been involved in social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter during 48 hours before voting. Or prevented from putting ads related to the election or ‘paid’ news.
In response, the Election Commission said that it can not stop political comments or posts coming to the social media. The Commission also said that rules and regulations regarding the participation of any kind of political advertisements or promotions during the 48 hours before the voting day of politicians and political parties are already present. Just before voting, the ‘paid’ political content and advertisements displayed through electronic media are also prohibited under law and posted on social media also fall under these restrictions. But how can the Election Commission stop him if a person praises any political party or its policies by putting a blog or twitter post privately?
In response, the petitioners said that social networking sites like Facebook have advertising policies in Britain and the United States, where all advertisements and ‘paid’ materials are strictly passed through the verification process. In India too, a similar policy should be implemented.