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SECTION 126:

  • Election commission of India formed a 10 member committee chaired by Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha to give recommendations on section 126 of the representation of the people (RP) act,1951.
  • Section 126 deals with ‘Silent Period’ which means that no one will propagate any election matter to the public during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for the conclusion of polls for any election in a polling area. This period of 48 hours in India is” sacrosanct” and voters are provided a period of silence to “independently consider their decision”.
  • The panel had submitted its recommendations in January this year.
  • Intermediaries (ex., Facebook, twitter, Instagram …etc) should also be brought within the scope of section 126. The reason behind this that intermediaries are increasingly becoming avenues for manipulating and influencing voters by providing an easy and convenient medium for spreading disinformation, misinformation fake and hate news across the world.

Electoral bonds: better than nothing

  • Electoral bonds help to traced illegal wealth if it is being ploughed into political funding, with electoral bonds the identity of a large donor is captured by the issuing bank. Political money has been a route to white wash illegal money. The identity of a donor ’secret’ can also be traced by Electoral bonds.
  • The earlier donation cap of 7.5% of average of three years net profit for corporate donors has removed by the Government, means a firm can donated unlimited money to party without the public ever getting to know which doesn’t help the cause of transparency.

SNS: code of ethics for Lok Sabha elections

  • Social media platforms told the Election Commission of India that they will develop a ‘code of ethics’ for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. SNS players met chief election commissioner Sunil Arora and election commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra. The focus of discussion is appointment of a dedicated grievance channel for expeditious action by the organisations, pre- certification and transparency in expenditure of political advertisements.
  • Chandra said that deterrents like some punitive action against users misusing the platforms should be considered pro-actively. Lavasa said that a clear clause on users voluntarily agreeing not to misuse social media platforms for election or political purposes should be considered by the management. Arora argued the platforms to come up with a similar model code of conduct for the ongoing election process in the immediate context and a lasting document in the long run.
  • ShareChat has also started tagging of content creators so whenever a post leaves its platform with the original creator’s user ID, ShareChat can easily identify who has originally shared the content. It has also has mandatory registration requires a registered mobile number and help to identify individuals if they are proved to be involved in spreading any kind of fake news or hate speech.