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New norms for opinion, exit polls

J. Venkatesan

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Tuesday issued fresh guidelines banning telecast/publication of the results of opinion/exit polls 48 hours prior to the date of Assembly or Lok Sabha elections.

In general elections having more than one phase, results should not be telecast/published till the conclusion of the last phase in all the States.

The guideline said: “No result of any opinion poll or exit poll conducted at any time shall be published, publicised or disseminated in any manner, whatsoever, by print, electronic or any other media, at any time during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for closing of poll in an election held in a single phase; and in a multi-phased election, and in the case of elections in different States announced simultaneously, at any time during the period starting from 48 hours before the hour fixed for closing of poll in the first phase of the election and till the poll is concluded in all the phases in all States.”

The Election Commission issued such guidelines in January 1998 and this order was challenged in the Supreme Court.

In the course of the hearing in September, 1999, the Commission opted to withdraw the guidelines and accordingly issued an order on September 14, 1999.

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