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HindustanTimes Mon,15 Sep 2014

Parliamentary panel questions EC over web content

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 27, 2013
First Published: 09:32 IST(27/10/2013) | Last Updated: 15:39 IST(27/10/2013)

A parliamentary panel on Saturday questioned the Election Commission’s jurisdiction on its latest guidelines to political parties and candidates for regulating their online and social media content during elections.

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The chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on law and justice, Shantaram Naik, said he has asked the commission to quote the provisions of law under which it had issued these guidelines.

“I have requested the EC to inform us about the provisions of law which empower it. Some of the instructions may be desirable, but one cannot understand the logic of issuing guidelines much after the date of announcement of elections when it had enough time to do it before it,” Naik said.

“Whenever the commission officials have appeared before the standing  committee, we have expressed reservations on the manner in which instructions are issued without quoting the law. In the present case also, the committee expresses its disapproval,” he said.

The panel chairman said the EC has created a new law which has not been passed by Parliament and its guidelines also do not form part of its rule making powers, provided to the commission by the government.

“The EC has caught the political parties and candidates by surprise without even having consulted them on this issue,” Naik said.

“Such matters cannot be left to be regulated in the names of instructions,” the chairman said.

The commission had on Friday issued detailed guidelines bringing the online and social media content posted by political parties and candidates under its model code of conduct.


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