The Election Commission (EC) has constituted 14 member committee headed by Umesh Sinha to suggest changes to Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (RP Act) in view of social media expansion.
Section 126 of RP Act, 1951 prohibits displaying any election matter by means of television or similar apparatus, during the period of 48 hours before the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in a constituency. It does not include social and new media under its ambit.
Composition: The Committee will be headed by Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha. It will comprise of 9 officers of EC, one nominated member each from Ministry of Law, Information and Broadcasting Ministry, IT Ministry, Press Council of India (PCI) and National Broadcasters Association (NBA).
Terms of Reference of the Committee
The committed will study impact of new media and social media during the “silence period” i.e. during 48 hours period prior to elections and its implication in view of Section 126 of RP Act, 1951. It will suggest modifications to the RP Act, 1951and model code of conduct (MCC). It will also examine difficulties faced in regulating media platforms during the prohibitory 48 hours in a multi-phase election It will submit its report within three months.