Law can’t stop pesky messages
You might well be fed up of receiving phone calls, auto-playback recorded voice messages and SMSes exhorting you to vote for certain candidates but you’ll just have to lump it as the law does not have an answer to your problem.delhi Updated: May 05, 2009 01:09 IST
You might well be fed up of receiving phone calls, auto-playback recorded voice messages and SMSes exhorting you to vote for certain candidates but you’ll just have to lump it as the law does not have an answer to your problem.
Those who’ve been using these methods to reach out to voters include the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate L.K. Advani and Congress candidate from New Delhi Ajay Maken.
The Election Commission on Monday expressed its inability to act against candidates invading the voter’s privacy, saying there was no provision in the law to deal with such promotional messages.
Sources in the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said these messages didn’t prima facie fall in the ambit of ‘Unsolicited Commercial Com-munications’ which telemarketers are banned from sending to subscribers listed on the National Do Not Call Registry.
Many people had complained to the EC about post-midnight phone calls and SMSes from candidates. “When I received an SMS at 2 am I assumed there was an emergency. I was really angry when I found that it was message soliciting votes for the BJP candidate. I report to work at 8.30 am. This is ridiculous,” said Mayur Vihar resident Vijesh Kapoor.
Election Commission legal adviser S.K. Mendiratta told HT, “The present law defining restrictions on campaigns does not cover SMSes and phone calls.” Deputy Election Com-missioner R. Balakrishnan said, “These are new areas of technology and a new challenge. We will think about it when the law in this regard is revised.”