Ban opinion and exit polls, restrict candidates to contesting from one seat: EC lists six key demands before Centre

The Election Commission has also sought powers to deregister political parties that exist on paper but have never contested an election.

The Election Commission has also sought powers to deregister political parties that exist on paper but have never contested an election.

A complete ban on opinion polls and exit polls and placing a restriction on the number of seats that a candidate can contest to one are among a list of key demands shared by the Election Commission of India with the Union Law ministry, The Indian Express reported on Monday.

As per the report, soon after Rajiv Kumar assumed charge as the Chief Election Commissioner, the EC shared a list of six key demands with the Centre. The demands include notifying of rules for Aadhaar-Voter ID linkage as well as facilitating four cut-off dates for eligible people to register as voters, an official told IE.

In its communication to the Centre, the EC has reiterated its longstanding demand to be armed with powers to deregister political parties that exist on paper but have never contested an election. The EC’s 2016 handbook of proposed reforms also hints at the possibility of political parties being formed to avail the benefits of income tax exemptions. “It would only be logical that the commission which has the power to register political parties is also empowered to deregister in appropriate cases,” the 2016 note stated.

As per Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the Election Commission has the powers to register associations and bodies as political parties. However, the poll panel enjoys no such constitutional or statutory powers when it comes to deregistering political parties.

Another long-standing demand reiterated by the EC is an amendment to Section 33(7) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 in order to limit the number of seats a candidate can contest in a general election or a group of by-elections or biennial elections to one seat instead of the existing provision that allows them to contest from two seats. 

The poll panel has also recommended a ban on exit polls and opinion polls and argued in favour of some restrictions on conducting and disseminating the results of opinion polls right from the day of the first notification of an election till the completion of the election in all its phases, according to The Indian Express.

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