Goa Bench of Bombay High Court refuses to interfere in guidelines issued by ECI until a detailed reply is filed

High Court of Bombay at Goa: The Election Commission had issued certain guidelines for conducting exit polls on 4th February, 2017, that was the day of polling in Goa. The petitioners, a local media news channel had filed a writ petition challenging the guidelines of Election Commission.

The counsel on behalf of the ECI put forth before the Court that no exit polls would be conducted on the day of polling in the States mentioned in the ECI notification dated 31.01.2017. To this, the counsel for the petitioner contended that such a stand was contrary to Section 126-A of the Representation of Peoples Act as well as of what could be understood by the plain reading of the notification itself while pointing out the fact that such exit polls have been conducted previously as well in Goa. It was brought to the light of the Court that S. 126-A as well as the notification bar the dissemination and publication of the results of the exit polls, but do not put any bar on conducting them.

The Court observed that the arguments of the petitioners were worth considering after the reply of Election Commission was filed. However, the Bench refused to interfere and to grant ad interim protection to petitioners and directed the ECI to issue a clarification on the notification by evening. [SOCIEDADE DE FOMENTO INDUSTRIAL PVT. LTD. V. UNION OF INDIA, WP No. 143 of 2017 decided on 3.02.2017]


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