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Cinemas to shut on April 17

Jamshedpur, April 12: All commercial establishments, including cinemas, restaurants and malls, will be closed during polling hours in Jamshedpur constituency on April 17 to facilitate voting.

A directive to this effect was issued today by East Singhbhum deputy commissioner-cum-returning officer Amitabh Kaushal to Jamshedpur deputy labour commissioner S.S. Pathak and deputy chief factory inspector Jamshedpur A.K. Mishra.

Kaushal has made it clear that the diktat has to be strictly implemented between 7am and 4pm on the polling day.

“The directive is in adherence to Section 135(B) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. It needs to be strictly enforced so that the electorate are free to cast their votes. The deputy labour commissioner will ensure that shops, commercial establishments (cinemas, malls and restaurants etc) are closed during polling hours while deputy chief factory inspector will execute the order for factories and industries,” the returning officer stressed while briefing representatives of political parties at the district collectorate.

He, however, said the establishments could open after polling hours and factories could juggle their shifts in such a manner that everybody got a fair chance to vote. “Under no circumstances can a person’s salary be deducted for being absent from work on that day,” Kaushal added.

Section 135 (B) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, says that any person employed in a factory, industry or commercial establishment should be granted a holiday on the day of voting.

No wage shall be deducted from any such person on account of the holiday. If an employer contravenes provision of this section, then such an employer shall be punishable with fine that may extend to Rs 500.

Some political parties had requested the returning officer to issue a directive of paid holiday for industrial units, restaurants and cinemas. “While workers, whose booths are located far from industrial units, faced problem in casting their votes, residents enjoy the paid holiday by going to restaurants and cinemas rather than turning up to polling stations,” said a representative of a party.

Kaushal further said that campaigning should end for Jamshedpur constituency at 4pm on April 15. Election offices of parties located within 200 metres of booths have to be closed down on April 15.