World News

EC pulls back Rahul Gandhi's notice, to set up panel

EC pulls back Rahul Gandhi's notice, to set up panel

The Election Commission on Sunday withdrew show cause notice to Congress president Rahul Gandhi for violating the model code of conduct by giving TV interviews during 48 hours prior to sec the nd phase of polling in Gujarat.

Late Sunday night, the EC ordered the setting up of a committee with representation from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, Law Ministry, National Broadcasters Association and Press Council of India to examine the scope of Section 126 of the Representation of People Act in the "prevailing context of communication technologies".

According to the model code, no "election matter" can be propagated within 48 hours before completion of polls.

The poll panel on December 13, 2017, had issued a show cause notice to Rahul for "prima facie" violating the provisions of the election law and the model code by giving interviews to TV channels in Gujarat.

The poll panel's letter to the BJP referred to Congress allegations against Modi, Union Ministers Arun Jaitley and Piyush Goel, BJP chief Amit Shah and party leader chief Jitu Baghnani for alleged violation of MCC.

The Congress has claimed that little has been happening to all its complaints against the BJP while things moved quickly when it came to grievances against others in the fray.

EC pulls back Rahul Gandhi's notice, to set up panel
EC pulls back Rahul Gandhi's notice, to set up panel

The party questioned the Commission's decision on the ground that it did not initiate action against newschannels for airing the release of BJP's Gujarat manifesto ahead of phase one polling.

The EC order further said the committee will also suggest required changes so that the matter can be taken up with all stakeholders, including political parties and media houses, for their views and to recommend appropriate modification in law.

The constitution of the EC committee holds significance given the expansion of modern technology that can be leveraged from remote locations during multi-phase elections despite the end of campaigning in one phase.

"If the section is read widely and any person can file complaint by wide interpretation of "an election matter", the Election Commission and the Courts will be flooded with complaints arising out of the intensify of an election campaign and the bitterness it may evoke".

It opined that Section 126, at present, does not take into account such a communication revolution, whereas it appears imperative to revisit the provisions to appropriately address these challenges.

After the EC passed the order, the Congress said if the commission had issued the notice just to prevent the telecast of Rahul Gandhi's interviews.

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