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EC withdraws notice to Rahul

EC withdraws notice to Rahul

To a question, the minister said the Gujarat election result will undoubtedly have its influence in favour of Congress in Karnataka assembly elections too.

Acting on a complaint by BJP, the Election Commission issued a notice to Rahul on Wednesday for violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by giving an interview to GSTV even after the campaign for Gujarat polls had formally ended.

A day before counting in the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, the Election commission on Sunday made a decision to set up a committee having representation from three union ministries to examine provisions of Representation of People Act and the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) about provisions relating to last 48 hours before polling in the wake of challenges posed by fast-changing technologies.

In its notice to Rahul Gandhi, the commission had said that it had received complaints that "on some TV channels interview given by you has been/is being displayed about elections" to Gujarat assembly.

The EC further stated that due to the expansion of digital and electronic media, the particular act and other provisions required revisiting the Act to cater to present challenges.

Following the political protest over Gandhi's interviews, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's FICCI meeting and the release of the BJPmanifesto, the poll panel also ordered registration of cases against television channels.

The commission also made a decision to 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 Commission will deliberate... and will consult political parties, media, National Basketball Association and other stakeholders to seek suggestions for necessary modification in the extant provisions". The party had said the "roadshow" was a violation of the model code.

In the meantime, the Commission has requested the Congress and the BJP not to violate the existing provision, which prohibits mentioning of any "election matter" within 48 hours of the closing of an election.

The EC observed that if the provision was read widely, any person could file a complaint by wide interpretation pertaining to "an election matter", and the Commission and the courts would be flooded with complaints arising out of "the intensity of an election campaign and the bitterness it may evoke".

The provision says any such act will invite imprisonment for a term that may extend to two years or with fine, or with both.

"It was opined that the increasing changes in the technology of communication makes it necessary that the administration, preferably the Law Commission, should have another look at the Section and clarify its limits", said the Commission.

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