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Report No. 255

18.7. Opinion Polls

Section 126(1)(b) of the RPA, which prohibits the display of any election matter forty-eight hours before polling begins, is limited to display by means of "cinematograph, television or other similar apparatus"; and does not deal with the independence and robustness of the opinion polls themselves. Thus:

a. The ban on opinion polls in the electronic media does not extend to the print media and section 126(1)(b) should be amended to prevent the publication, publicity, or dissemination of any election matter by print or electronic media.

[Para 8.27.1]

b. Section 126(1)(b) should also provide for cognizance being taken only on the basis of a complaint made by order of, or under authority from, the ECI or the Chief Electoral Officer of the State.

[Para 8.27.2]

c. The regulation of opinion polls is necessary to ensure that first, the credentials of the organisations conducting the poll is made known to the public; second, the public has a chance to assess the validity of the methods used in conducting the opinion polls; and third, the public is made adequately aware that opinion polls are in the nature of forecasts or predictions, and as such are liable to error. Consequently, new sections 126C and 126D should be inserted in the RPA.

[Para 8.28.3]

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