Five days before the first election to the Aizawl Municipal Council, Mizoram State Election Commission on Sunday warned that misuse of short message service (SMS) would invite penalties.
In an official statement, the State Election Commission said the misuse would be penalised under provisions of the IPC, Representation of the People Act, 1951, Mizoram Municipalities (Election of Councillors) Rules, 2007 and the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961.
"It has been brought to the notice of the Commission that certain objectionable SMS(s) are being transmitted by some persons, violating the provisions of election laws and the model code of conduct.
"Any violation of the election laws and the model code of conduct should be reported to the police and the police would take action in accordance with the law," the statement said.
Expenses on bulk SMS(s) sent by service providers would be included in the election expenditure of the candidates, the Commission said, adding that transmission of bulk text messages of political nature for a period of 48 hours before the end of the election process of the civic polls was strictly prohibited.
Due to plethora of diktats imposed on the political parties and the candidates by the Mizoram People's Forum (MPF), the Presbyterian Church-sponsored election watchdog, including prohibition of door-to-door canvassing, political parties and the candidates for the civil polls turned to sending of SMS(s) to woo the voters.