Political Parties Should Refrain From Using Children In Political Campaigns: ECI

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The Election Commission of India on Monday said that Political Parties should refrain from using children in election campaigns in any form whatsoever including the distribution of posters/pamphlets or participation in slogan shouting, campaign rallies, election meetings, etc.

In a press note by the ECI, it was said that in continuation of its earlier directives to parties and candidates to address plummeting levels of campaign discourse and to maintain respectful discourse towards Persons with Disabilities (PviDs), the Election Commission of India has issued strict directives regarding the use of children in any election-related activities.

“Political parties are explicitly directed not to engage children in any form of election campaign, including rallies, slogan shouting, distribution of posters or pamphlets, or any other election-related activity. Political leaders and candidates should not use children for campaign activities in any manner including holding a child in their arms, carrying a child in a vehicle or rallies,” the ECI said.

“This prohibition extends to the use of children to create the semblance of a political campaign in any manner including use through poem, songs, spoken words, display of insignia of political party/candidate, exhibiting ideology of political party, promoting achievements of a political party or criticizing the opponent political parties/candidates,” it added.

The ECI further said that however, the mere presence of a child accompanied by their parent or guardian in proximity of a political leader and who is not involved in any election campaigning activity by the political party, will not be construed as a violation of the guidelines.

“District Election Officers and Returning Officers shall bear personal responsibility for ensuring compliance with all relevant acts and laws about child labour. Any violation of these provisions by-election machinery under their jurisdiction will result in severe disciplinary action,” the ECI said.

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