The Election Commission on Wednesday said that predictions about election results by astrologers, tarot readers and others in media when there was a ban on broadcasting exit polls were a violation of law.
The EC’s advisory, which was re-issued ahead of elections in Himachal Pradesh today and in Gujarat in December, asked the media, both electronic and print, to “refrain” from airing and publishing such programmes in future elections during the prohibited period to ensure free, fair and transparent polls, reported PTI.
The advisory was earlier issued on March 30 this year in which the poll watchdog pointed to Section 126 A of the Representation of the People Act .
The provision states that “no person shall conduct any exit poll and publish or publicise by means of the print and electronic media or disseminate in any other manner, whatsoever, the result of any exit poll during such period as may be notified by the Election Commission….”
The March advisory was issued keeping in mind the commission’s experience during the February elections to the assemblies of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur.
“…It has been observed that some of the TV channels telecast certain programmes projecting the number of seats likely to be won by political parties. This was done during the period exit polls were prohibited…,” the advisory had said.
It pointed out that in one of the channels, the panelists on the show, who were persons from different fields, had put forward the projected number of seats likely to be won by different parties in Uttar Pradesh.
“The Commission is of the view that prediction of result of elections in any form or manner by way of predictions by astrologers, tarot readers, political analysts or by any person during the prohibited period is violation of the spirit of Section 126A…,” the Commission said.?
The EC had yesterday said that exit poll results for Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat assembly elections cannot be made public before December 14 evening.