The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the Election Commission of India and the state Election Commission to amend the standard rules of conduct so as to stop children from participating in election campaign conducted by political parties across the state.
"This is a serious issue....prima facie, it appears that the existing rules do not provide for a ban on children. Please look into this aspect and make a provision to stop children in the electioneering," said a bench headed by justice Abhay Oka while hearing a PIL.
The court asked both the ECI and the state Election Commission to file their affidavits by July 20 on the issue. Further hearing on the matter has been adjourned to July 28.
The standard rules of conduct are guidelines framed by the government for political parties during electioneering.
The petition filed by a Pune resident Chetan Bhutada enclosed several photographs of children holding placards and flags and raising slogans. The photos pertained to the campaign conducted by various political parties in the state.
Petitioner's lawyer Sriram Choudhari said children below the age of 14 were roped in for election campaign, thereby violating the provisions of Child Labour Act.