16 April 2019
Bhubaneswar: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has called upon all political parties to instruct and brief their leaders and campaigners to ensure that they observe the silence period on all forms of media as envisaged under Section 126 of the Representation of People Act, 1951.
In a letter to the chiefs of all recognized national and State political parties, the ECI mentioned that in order to provide a period of tranquil or silence period for the electors before the voting day, Section 126 of the Act prohibits election campaign activities through public meetings, processions, etc and displaying of election matter by means of television and similar apparatus.
The ECI stated of receiving allegations on the violation of the provisions of the Act, particularly on infringment of the provision of clause (b), dealing with telecast/broadcast of election matters on electronic media during the silence period.
In view of this a Committee was constituted by the ECI for reviewing the working of Section 126 in the context of advancements in communication technology and rise of social media.
In the report submitted by the Committee, apart from various recommendation of all recognized National and State parties, it has proposed for an advisory to political parties for every compliance with the letter and spirit of the provision of Section 126.
The ECI stated that in a multi-phased election, the silence period of last 48 hours may be on in certain constituencies while campaign is ongoing in other constituencies. In such event, there should not be any direct or indirect reference amounting to soliciting support for parties or candidates in the constituence observing the silence period.
It suggested that during the silence period, star campaigners and other political leaders should refrain from addressing the media by way of press conferences and giving interviews on election matters.