Election Commission reverses its decision of showing polls live through webcast
New Delhi: Unlike the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, people will not be able to watch polling live in the Bihar assembly elections as the Election Commission has decided that webcasting in polling stations will now be "restricted" to the poll machinery and not be available to the common man.
An Election Commission order said the decision has been taken keeping with the spirit of a provision of Conduct of Election Rules relating to secrecy of ballot papers and control units of EVMs.
On March 21, 2014, the Commission had asked people to watch polling live through webstream, detect violations of rules and alert the authorities.
The EC has asked all chief electoral officers (CEOs) to make arrangements for live webcasting of polling in as many polling stations as possible.
"The purpose of webcasting is to make the polling process transparent. All webcasting should therefore be put in public domain... It should also be publicised that if any person notices any violation of rules and procedures on the webcast, he/she can make a complaint to the Returning Officer /Observer," the EC directive in the form of consolidated instructions had said.
But taking a contradictory stand, a fresh EC directive of October 6 to all CEOs states that "the Commission has decided that henceforth, webcasting in polling stations will be restricted to viewing only by the election machinery in keeping with the spirit of Rule 93 (1) of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961."
Rule 93 (1) of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 states that "while in the custody of the district election officer or, as the case may be, the returning officer the control units sealed under the rovisions of rule 57C and kept in the custody of the district election officer shall not be opened and shall not be inspected by, or produced before, any person or authority except under the orders of a competent court."