SC to hear plea on exit polls in July
A ban on exit polls, while an election is on, is favoured by both politicians and also the Election Commission.delhi Updated: Jun 22, 2012 13:17 IST
The Supreme Court on Friday deferred to July hearing of a plea that seeks a ban on exit polls during elections.
As the matter, pending with the apex court since 2004, came up before the bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan, petitioner DK Thakur sought expeditious hearing, arguing that the issue was of paramount importance to the electoral reforms and parliamentary democracy.
But the bench, also comprising Justices RV Raveendran and PK Balasubramanyam, adjourned the matter to July saying it would schedule it for the final hearing after the summer vacation.
A ban on exit polls and opinion polls while an election is on is favoured not merely by politicians cutting across party lines, but also by the Election Commission.
The commission in its reply to the plea has told the court that there must be some restriction on publication and telecast of exit polls in line with the tradition in western democracies, which too have banned it for various periods during elections.
But Attorney General Milon K Banerji, in his opinion tendered to the law ministry, had said that banning exit polls would negate the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression.
The petition, pending with the apex court, says: "The dissemination of such results of opinion and exit polls receives wide publicity and coverage in print and electronic media and such dissemination, particularly on the eve of polls, is having a deleterious effect and influence on the electorate when they are in the mental process of making up their minds to vote or not to vote for a certain political party or a candidate."