Notice to Kejriwal for sending audio messages to voters via mobile phones

If Arvind Kejriwal does not respond satisfactorily to the show-cause notice by 4 PM of Saturday, action will be initiated against him

Editorials

In India

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New Delhi: The East Delhi returning officer for Lok Sabha election has issued a show-cause notice to Delhi Chief Minister and AAP head Arvind Kejriwal on receiving complaints about the alleged audio message being sent to mobile phone users. In addition, Kejriwal has been asked to hand over the certificate obtained from the monitoring committee.

Officials had received complaints that the AAP had been sending recorded audio messages containing content of election campaign to mobile phone users.

The Election Commission constituted its Media and Monitoring Committee at the State and district levels for the approval of political advertisements and promotion material for the Lok Sabha election.

The election officer of East Delhi K Mahesh has asked the chief minister to respond to the show-cause notice dated 2 May with documents of the permission before 4 PM on Saturday.

According to the notice, if the chief minister does not comply, it will be assumed that there is nothing for him to say and action will be initiated according to the election law and rules made thereunder.

As per the notice, the committee received a complaint from a mobile application user on 23 April that said that a recorded electioneering message from the Aam Aadmi Party was being sent to all mobile phone users.

The committee examined the matter and confirmed that Kejriwal had been sending all the recorded audio messages containing campaign material of the AAP national convenor to all mobile phone users.

The notice says that sending bulk messages simultaneously in the election campaign lies within the scope of pre-certification of advertisements.

Rule 21.2.13 of the model code of conduct laid down by the Election Commission reads: “Bulk SMS/Voice messages during Election campaigning:- The bulk SMS/Voice messages on phone in election campaigning shall also be in the purview of pre-certification of election advertisements as in case of TV Channels/cable network, radio including private FM channels, cinema halls, Audio-Visual displays in public places and social media. The legal provisions, as applicable to other modes of electronic media shall also be applicable to such bulk SMS/ Voice messages.”

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