EC not to ban opinion polls; wants Centre to make law

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New Delhi, Mar 30: The broadcast and publication of opinion polls is unlikely to be restricted in the coming months as Election Commission has told the Law Ministry that it will not take such a step using its powers under the Constitution and it wants the government to come out with a law on the issue.

Days after the Law Ministry suggested to the poll panel that it can restrict opinion polls using its powers under Article 324, the Commission has reverted back to the government saying that bringing a law would be a better idea. EC feels that restricting opinion polls under Article 324 may not be "legally sustainable".

It told the Law Ministry that since exit polls were 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 state Assemblies.

Existing law allows EC to ban opinion polls just 48 hours prior to voting.

Earlier this year, the Attorney General had backed a proposal of the EC to altogether ban publication and broadcast of opinion polls between announcement of election schedule and final phase of polling.

To support his view to ban opinion polls, the AG had also pointed that the amendments incorporating restrictions in relation to exit polls have been in force for over three years "and there does not appear to be a challenge to this."


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