The office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Maharashtra has directed the producers of two daily soaps, accused of violating the model code of conduct, to exclude content which may prove beneficial to any political party in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.
The office of the CEO has also asked them to ensure the episodes containing such objectionable content are not available on any electronic or social media platform.
"They are also instructed to seek prior approval from the competent authority if any such content is existing in the nature of advertisement before telecasting such episodes of the soap opera," an official said Tuesday.
The producers of the daily soaps should meticulously comply with the provisions in the model code of conduct, in force for the Lok Sabha polls, and other directives of the Election Commission of India (ECI), he said.
The Congress had lodged a complaint with the CEO's office, alleging the episodes of the daily soaps contained content related to various government schemes and the leadership of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
On receiving the complaint, the office of the CEO had issued a show-cause notice to them, seeking an explanation as to why action should not be initiated for violation of the model code of conduct.
"On the basis of the explanation offered by the producers of the two production houses and the perusal of the shooting of the concerned episodes, it came to the notice the contents of the daily soap serial advertised a particular political party and its leaders which can unduly influence the voters," the official said.
"Similarly, this content was not pre-certified. Hence, the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections was violated due to the content in the episodes of these daily soap serials," he added.
Additional Chief Election Officer Dilip Shinde directed the exclusion of the objectionable content from the concerned episodes of the daily soap serials.
"It has been directed not to telecast any content which may be beneficial to any particular political party or its candidates during the period till the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha polls is in force," he said.
The producers of these daily soaps are strictly warned to get the content pre-certified before advertising the same and strictly comply with the provisions of the poll code and other ECI directives, he said.