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EC panel to review law barring campaigning 48 hrs before poll

PTI | New Delhi |

The Election Commission has set up a panel to suggest amendments to a provision in the election law barring campaigning 48 hours ahead of polling, following complaints that it has failed to keep pace with information technology.

The panel will be headed by senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha. It will have eight other members from the EC.

The committee will have one member each from the law ministry, IT ministry and the information and broadcasting ministry. Two others will be from the Press Council of India and the National Broadcasters Association.

The panel will submit its report to the poll watchdog in the next three months.

The committee will “examine these provisions in the prevailing context of communication technologies and suggest required changes”, it said.

The move to set up the committee came in the wake of controversies over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s FICCI meeting, Rahul Gandhi’s TV interviews and the release of BJP manifesto — all after campaigning had ended in Gujarat.

The poll panel accepted that Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act does not take into account the revolution in communication technologies.

“It appears imperative to revisit the provisions relating to the last 48 hours before completion of poll to appropriately address challenges unleashed by fast changing technologies in the context of multi-phase polls,” the EC had said.