Giving a mild rap on the knuckles of media for masquerading exit polls as opinion polls in their broadcast on April 14, the poll watchdog has advised them not to resort to such practices.
Calling it a violation of section 126-A of Representation of People's Act, the Election Commission on Wednesday said, "The results of aforesaid (April 14) opinion poll also included results in respect of various polls which have already been concluded in 111 parliamentary constituencies held on April 7, 9, 10 and 12, this dissemination of result of opinion poll in effect becomes dissemination of result of exit polls."
A violation of section 126 is punishable with an imprisonment of up to two years or with fine or both, but the EC chose to remain silent on this.
Desisting from naming any channel or newspaper, the commission further said that the result of the opinion poll indeed included the number of seats expected to be won by political parties where polls have already been held, thus qualifying it as an exit poll.
The results televised on some channels were published by some newspapers the next day.
The EC has already banned the publication or telecast of exit polls for the duration of the 7 April-12 May elections.
"In order to maintain level playing field and to ensure free and fair elections, the Commission advises all print and electronic media not to resort to the type of practice as mentioned... which for all practical purpose mean publication of exit poll while claiming that the same is only an opinion poll," the EC said.