“If any small state/UT with a few number of districts, face any difficulty in compliance of the above instruction, then it may refer the specific case with reasons to the Commission through CEO for exemption and the Commission would issue directions, if considered necessary,” said the poll panel
Gearing up for elections to Legislative Assemblies of Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, which terms are due to expire early next year, the Election Commission of India has ordered transfer of officials connected to the conduct of elections, who are either posted in their home districts or have served in places for long, as part of its procedure to ensure free and fair elections.
A letter addressed to chief secretaries and chief electoral officers of these poll-bound states issued Senior Principal Secretary Narendra N Butolia has categorically stated that no officer connected directly with elections shall be allowed to continue in the present district (revenue district) of posting if she/he is posted in her/his home district or if she/he has completed three years in that district during last four (4) years or would be completing 3 years on or before March 31, 2022 in case of Goa, Manipur, Punjab and Uttarakhand; and May 31, 2022 in case of Uttar Pradesh.
While calculating the period of three years, promotion to a post within the district is to be counted, it added.
“If any small state/UT with a few number of districts, face any difficulty in compliance of the above instruction, then it may refer the specific case with reasons to the Commission through CEO for exemption and the Commission would issue directions, if considered necessary,” said the letter.
The letter said these instructions shall cover not only officers appointed for specific election duties like DEOs, Dy. DEOs, RO/AROs, EROs/AEROs, officers appointed as nodal officers of any specific election works but also district officers like ADMs, SDMs, Dy. Collector/joint collector, Tehsildar,Block Development Officers or any other officer of equal rank directly deployed for election works.
These instructions shall also be applicable to the police department officers such as Range IGs, DIGs, Commandants of State Armed Police, SSPs, SPs, Addl. SPs, Sub-Divisional Head of Police, SHOs, Inspectors, Sub-inspector, RIs / Sergeant Majors or equivalent ranks, who are responsible for security arrangement or deployment of police forces in the district at election time, it said.
However, the police officials who are posted in functional departments like computerization, special branch, training, etc. are not covered under these instructions.
The Police Sub-Inspectors and above should not be posted in their home district if a Police Sub-Inspector has completed or would be completing a tenure of 3 years out of four years on or before the cutoff date in a police sub-division, then he should be transferred out to a police sub-division which does not fall in the same, it said.
The poll panel has made it clear that transfer/posting of all officers shall be done and compliance reports by Chief Secretary and DGP with details of action obtained from the concerned departments/offices of State Government shall be furnished to the Commission by December 31, 2O21.It may be noted that the terms of existing Legislative Assemblies of Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh are due to expire on March 15, March 19, March 27, March 23 and May 4, 2022 respectively.