The committee was constituted by the Election Commission to probe how information on the Karnataka Assembly poll dates was aired by two TV news channels on March 27 even before Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat had made an announcement in the regard.
The Committee said alleged leak first appeared on an English TV news channel at 11.06 am, which was used by others including Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) IT cell head Amit Malviya and Karnataka Congress lT Head Srivatsa.
Incidentally, while both got the polling date correct, they got the date of counting wrong.
"The Channel in its response said 'Channel assessed the details from informed sources. Given that the information was not entirely accurate it was obvious it was not a leak'. The Committee is of the opinion that there was no leak of schedule of elections to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, 2018," the Committee said in its report.
The Committee said the presentation of the news item by TV channels as well as tweets by political party leaders regarding Karnataka poll date, just as Commission was making the announcement, was avoidable and they could have acted in more responsible manner.
It also said the political parties should have avoided from tweeting at the crucial juncture when the Commission was announcing poll dates.
"The time of the announcement of the schedule is integral to the electoral process . It is the responsibility of all the stakeholders including media and political parties not to attempt any speculation that may create doubt in the minds of our stakeholders and citizens at large," the Committee said.
Terming the Election Commission's process/system robust enough, the Committee said, "However, considering the secrecy of the process the committee will separately brief the commission for further strengthening the process, if required." (ANI)