Chief Electoral Officer Narinder Chauhan has directed all the District Magistrates in Himachal Pradesh to issue directions to printers, representatives of political parties, contesting candidates and polling agents regarding restrictions imposed by ECI on printing and publication of election pamphlets, posters etc. during the elections. He said that provisions regarding printing and publication of election pamphlets, posters etc. are governed by Representation of the People Act, 1951 and those should be strictly followed during elections.
He said that before printing any election pamphlets or posters etc. the printer should obtain declaration from the publisher in a proforma prescribed by the Commission, which shall be duly signed by the publisher and attested by two persons to whom the publisher is personally known. It should be authenticated by the printer when it is forwarded to the Chief Electoral Officer or the District Magistrate as the case may be.
Chauhan said that the printer should furnish four copies of printed material along with the declaration of the publisher within three days of the printing, besides the information regarding number of copies of the document printed and the price charged for such printing job, in the proforma prescribed by the Commission. Such information shall be furnished by the printer, not collectively but separately, in respect of each election pamphlet, poster etc., printed by him within three days of the printing of each such documents, he said.
Chief Electoral Officer said that as soon as District Magistrate receives any election pamphlets or posters etc., from a printing press, he should examine weather the publisher and printer had compiled with the requirements of law and the directions of the Commission. He shall also cause one copy thereof to be exhibited at some conspicuous place in his office so that all political parties, candidates and other interested persons may be able to check weather the requirements of law have been duly compiled with in relation to such documents he said that this would enable them to bring to the notice of the authorities concerned the cases of other election pamphlets, posters etc. in respect of which the requirements of the law have been violated.
Chauhan further said that no person should print or publish, or cause to be printed or published, any election pamphlets or poster which does not bear on its face the names and address of the printer and the publisher. Any process for multiplying copies of a document, other than copying it by and shall be deemed to be printing and the expression “printer” shall be construed accordingly.
Chief Electoral Officer said that restrictions on printing of election pamphlets, posters etc. had been imposed under the law with a view to establish the identity of publisher and printers in case such document contains any matter or material which was illegal, offending or objectionable like appeal on ground of religion, race, caste, community or language or character assassination of an opponent etc. He said that necessary punitive or preventive action might be taken against the persons concerned. These restrictions also serve the purpose of keeping, check on the incurring of unauthorised election expenditure by political parties, candidates and their supports on the printing and publication of election pamphlets, posters etc. he said.