The Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued strict directives regarding use of children in any election-related activities. In its latest notification, the ECI has asked political parties not to use children in election campaigns in any form whatsoever. It means that no children can be used for distribution of posters/pamphlets or to participate in slogan shouting, campaign rallies, election meetings, etc.
The ECI has conveyed ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy towards use of children in any manner during the electoral process by parties as well as the candidates.
Prohibition of Child Participation in Election Related Activities:
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 in rallies.
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.
“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,” the ECI said.