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Rahul Gandhi interview: EC issues show-cause notice to Congress president-elect, orders FIR against TV channels

"Explain why action should not be taken against you for violating provisions of MCC, failing which Commission will decide matter without any further reference to you,' EC said in its notice to Congress president-elect.

Reported by: India TV News Desk, New Delhi [ Updated: December 13, 2017 21:20 IST ]
Image Source : PTI Rahul Gandhi

Election Commission on Wednesday asked Rahul Gandhi to reply by 5 pm on December 18 over his interview to TV Channels after the implementation of election code of conduct. 

"Explain why action should not be taken against you for violating provisions of MCC, failing which Commission will decide matter without any further reference to you,' EC said in its notice to Congress president-elect. 

Taking cognizance of the complaint filed by BJP against an interview aired on GSTV, the commission directed the Chief Electoral Officer, Gujarat to initiate action against media channels that had telecast Rahul Gandhi's interview across poll-bound districts by filing an FIR for violation of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

The Election Commission termed the telecast of interview as "display of election matter" in violation of the 48-hour ban in force for Phase-2 polling.

The EC order said "such display falls within the definition of 'election matter' under Section 126(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and display of such election matter within 48 hours ending with hour fixed for conclusion of poll in the poll-going areas, amounts to violation of Section 126(1)(b) of the Representation of the People Act".

"The Commission after due deliberations has, therefore, directed the chief electoral officer of Gujarat to initiate necessary action by filing FIR against those who have violated the above mentioned provisions in Phase 2 districts in Gujarat going to poll tomorrow, i.e., 14th December, 2017".

The Election Commission also asked the TV channels "which are violating the provision of Section 126(1)(b) by displaying said election matter in Phase 2 districts in Gujarat to forthwith stop the display of such matter".

The BJP had filed three complaints with the Gujarat election commission claiming that Rahul's interview constitutes poll campaigning, which is not allowed 48 hours before the elections

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