Friday, Apr 16, 2004
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By J. Venkatesan
NEW DELHI, APRIL 15. The Election Commission today directed the Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) of all States and Union Territories to constitute two committees, one to scrutinise applications by political parties and associations/groups and another by candidates for certification of any advertisement to be telecast in television channels and cable networks.
In detailed guidelines following the Supreme Court orders passed on April 13, the Commission has directed that for the first committee, the Additional or Joint CEO shall be the Chairperson; Returning Officer of any parliamentary constituency located in the capital of the State and one expert to be requisitioned from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting as other members.
For the second committee, the Returning Officer of every parliamentary constituency has been declared Designated Officer for previewing, scrutinising and certifying advertisements by individual candidates contesting the election from the constituency concerned. The DO may co-opt any of the Assistant Returning Officers to assist him in the task of certification.
A separate committee has been directed to be set up in the National Capital territory of Delhi to deal with applications of all registered political parties having their headquarters in the NCT of Delhi and all groups or organisations or persons having their headquarters in NCT of Delhi.
The applications shall be made to the committees not later than three days prior to the proposed telecast. For the first phase of elections on April 20, the committees shall dispose of such applications in two days of the receipt. Application by any other person or unregistered political parties will have to be made not later than seven days prior to the proposed telecast of advertisements.
The CEOs have also been authorised to constitute committees to look into grievances of any political party or candidate with regard to the decision taken on the applications for certification of advertisements.
The application for certification should contain details of the cost of production of the advertisement, estimated cost of proposed telecast, a statement detailing whether the advertisement was for the candidates or parties and payment made by way of cheque or demand draft. It would be open for the committees to direct deletion or modification of any part of the advertisement and it would be binding on the parties and the contesting candidates to do so.
The advertisement so modified would be re-submitted for review and certification.
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