Will curb un-verified political ads on social media: Election Commission to Bombay High Court.

The Election Commission (EC) Monday told the Bombay High Court that it will issue directions prohibiting all social media platforms from displaying political advertisements not pre-verified by it.

The EC, through its counsel Pradeep Rajagopal, told the high court that a meeting between the commission and all social media intermediaries was scheduled for Tuesday.

Following the same, its new directions imposing several prohibitions on political advertisements, and other ads concerned with “national interest”, will be finalised and implemented.

Rajagopal made the submissions before a bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice N M Jamdar.

The bench has been hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by lawyer Sagar Suryavanshi, seeking directions to the EC to regulate fake news in the form of paid political ads on social media.

In compliance with the court’s previous orders, the commission submitted an affidavit on Monday, informing the HC of the proposed pre-verification rules for political ads.

In its affidavit, the EC said it will also “evolve a notification mechanism” for identifying and flagging such political ads that have not received its pre-verification, but have been posted on social media platforms.

“The intermediaries will also have to expeditiously remove any advertisement or information already posted without the verification certificate from the commission,” the affidavit said.

“A code of conduct is being evolved in consultation with the Internet and Mobile Association of India and the social media intermediaries to incorporate the above measures and any other direction issued by this court,” it said.

On previous hearing, social networking portal Facebook told the HC that it had introduced a strict “verification processes” for all political ads and paid content of “national interest” in India ahead of the general election.

The new system ensures that only bonafide individuals, who are citizens of India, and political organisations based in the country can place political ads.

Twitter and YouTube had told the bench that they permitted only such political ads which were verified by the EC.