EC withdraws notice to Rahul Gandhi over TV interviews, to set up panel to review model code of conduct
To keep up with changing communication technology, the Election Commission decided to set up a panel to suggest amendments to a provision in the election law barring campaigning 48 hours ahead of polling.india Updated: Dec 17, 2017 23:16 IST
The Election Commission on Sunday withdrew its show cause notice issued to Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his televised interviews, citing that technological advancements have required a review of the model of conduct.
Considering the “multi-fold expansion of digital and electronic media”, the commission further decided setting up a committee to review the extant of the code (section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951). The panel will “examine these provisions in the prevailing context of communication technologies and suggest required changes”, it said.
In an order issued on Sunday night, it said the proposed committee will have members from the poll panel, the information and broadcasting, law and IT ministries, in addition to those from the National Broadcasters Associations (NBA) and Press Council of India (PCI).
The EC had on Wednesday sought an explanation from Gandhi for appearing in television interviews after campaigning for the Gujarat assembly had ended. According to the model code, no “election matter” can be propagated within 48 hours before completion of polls. The counting and results of the election are being announced on Monday.
“It appears imperative to revisit the provisions relating to the last 48 hours before completion of poll to appropriately address challenges unleashed by fast changing technologies in the context of multi-phase polls,” the EC said.
Following the political protest over Gandhi’s interviews, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s FICCI meeting and the release of the BJP manifesto, the poll panel also ordered registration of cases against television channels.
(With PTI inputs)