EC allows use of school, college grounds for election meetings

New Delhi, April 25, 2014

The Election Commission (EC) has, in a relaxation of its existing instructions in this regard, decided to allow the use of school and college grounds for political meetings during election campaigns, subject to some conditions.
In a letter to the Chief Electoral Officers of all States and Union Territories (UTs), it said it had been receiving representations from various States/UTs regarding scarcity of grounds for campaign purposes. 
"The political parties have been urging the Commission from time to time to allow them to utilize school and college grounds for political meetings," it said.
The EC said that, while allowing the use of school and college grounds for such meetings, it must be ensured that the academic calendar is not disturbed under any circumstances.
The letter said it must also be ensured that the school or college management had no objection in this regard and prior permission for such campaigning must be obtained from the management as well as the Sub-Divisional Officer of the area.
The EC said such permission should be granted on first-come-first served basis and no political party should be allowed to monopolize the use of those grounds.
"Any violation in the allotment of school/college grounds for political meetings will be viewed seriously by the Commission. The accountability in this regard lies with the Sub Divisional Officer," it said.
The letter said political parties, candidates and campaigners must take care to ensure that the norms in this regard were not violated.
"The Commission further directs that, if such grounds are utilized for campaigning purpose it should be returned to the authority concerned, without any damage or with the requisite compensation for the damage caused, if any," it said.
"The political party/parties restoring back the campaign ground to the concerned school/ college authority should be responsible for the payment of such compensation, if any," it said.

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