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HC slams EC for social media poll ads order delay

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday rapped the Election Commission of India (EC) for its failure to come up with any orders regulating political advertisements on social media 48 hours before polling day. A bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice N M Jamdar asked the ECI why it was hesitant to pass regulatory or prohibitory orders on such ads.

"Why have so many adjournments been taken for something which is an important issue? Why are you (ECI) apprehensive to pass an order?" the bench asked. While ECI counsel Pradeep Rajagopal denied there was any apprehension on its part, the court said the ECI's conduct through the hearings made it apparent that it was "hesitant" to bring about such regulation.

The bench reserved its orders on the matter and said it will pass appropriate orders. The bench is hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by lawyer Sagar Suryavanshi seeking directions to the ECI to regulate fake news in the form of paid political ads on social media.

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